Orientation was moved online for new students last year due to the pandemic, but the University of Rhode Island will offer both virtual and in-person orientation activities for incoming students this summer.

According to the Director of New Student Programs Kristina Perrelli, students were invited to stay on campus for two days and one night for orientation before the pandemic. Previously, there was not an online option for students, who had to meet other incoming students, set up their URI student accounts and register for classes within those two days.

Because of the pandemic, students now have the option to complete orientation online or spend a day on campus. Incoming students have the option to do so as soon as they send in their deposit up until the end of June, Perrelli said. 

“Having a virtual option is important, even in the future,” she said. “I think we learned a lot from COVID … it helped us realize that we should always have that [virtual] option.”

She said that the Office of New Student Programs recognized this after last summer’s orientation experience, as they were not fully prepared for the changes that were made.

According to Perrelli, they’re offering a variety of options, letting students mix-and-match their in-person and online experiences. 

“Students can pick from the menu whatever works for their life and schedule and depending on where they are in the country,” Perrelli said. “We’re going to make sure they can get everything done.” 

Perrelli said this hybrid model was put into place because the University has to give families options since COVID-19 has made it difficult to travel. She wants committed students to have the opportunity to engage virtually because the future with COVID-19 is unknown, and they want future students to get the best experience possible.

This hybrid orientation allows students to be prepared for their upcoming semester even if they are unable to or are uncomfortable coming to campus.

For those choosing to attend the in-person events, all students will have to wear masks and remain socially distant, but can learn about involvement opportunities, connect with others in their program and get Rhody Ready.

Although these on-campus activities are available to incoming students until the end of June, all academic advising will be held online.  

The University just launched a new website with resources incoming students will need. According to Perrelli, they wanted to make this website like the real college visit experience, so they decked out the road-trip-themed website with things like student-made Spotify playlists, personalized campus trip guides, and weekly raffles. For those who are able to visit the campus, the website also has lists of “Rhode-trip essentials,” including what to pack, where to eat, and a Rhody-lingo guide, so you’re prepared for your day trip.

Jake Wilber, a committed incoming student, said that he plans to use all of the resources the University is providing him with.

Wilber, who just committed last week, will be completing his orientation this upcoming week. 

“Every aspect of URI, the campus, the community, and the location, made my decision effortless,” he said. “I’m beyond excited to start my Rhody experience.”

Much like other students, Wilber is happy to accept the Honors Program, complete his orientation and hit the Rhode to becoming a Ram.