A Virtual Introduction Like No Other: A Conversation with Orientation Leader Maddie Reckner ’23

3 min read

Olivia Papp ’23

Features Editor

New Student Orientation typically takes up four or five days and is devoted to ensuring that new students can become acquainted with life at Trinity prior to the beginning of classes. Orientation leaders will often aid new students in adapting to the many newfound difficulties of college. This aid can take on many forms such as showing new students around to their classes, answering unresolved questions, or simply being a role model during this unsettling transition period. Orientation this year, however, looks much different than it has in previous years. 

The effects of coronavirus have begun to grow apparent on college campuses across the United States, and the effects are also evident throughout New Student Orientation at Trinity. With much preparation on part of the Trinity administration, mainly through the Student Activities, Involvement, and Leadership team (S.A.I.L.), the Orientation process has still been deemed a success despite the comparative lack of in-person programming.

This year, the majority of events during New Student Orientation were virtual, a significant departure from the tradition of previous years. All introductory meetings between new students and orientation leaders were done over Zoom. Other activities promoted by the S.A.I.L. Team were also done through Zoom meetings, however, new students were still able to claim their nest t-shirts in person. 

The S.A.I.L. team worked hard to find activities for students that could operate online. There were many different activities available for new students to attend, similar to those from in-person years. Although the most substantial setback this year was having virtual orientation sessions rather than in-person sessions, the S.A.I.L. team at Trinity made it possible for students to attend activities such as yoga, bingo, trivia, the annual candle-lighting ceremony, and even Convocation. The entire process went generally well, despite a few technical glitches over Zoom. 

“Orientation went as well as it could have gone, given the situation we’re in,” said Maddie Recker ’23, an orientation leader. “Meeting virtually is not the most ideal way for freshmen to meet their classmates, however, my group showed up to our meetings and we all made an effort to make orientation go smoothly,” she remarked. Recker voiced her concern over the fact that there is “nothing we can do about this situation without putting people in danger of contracting the virus. Even still, the whole process went smoothly.” 

When reflecting on the experience as a whole, Recker commented, “I would have changed the way everyone received their orientation group.” In previous years, the orientation group assignments were done through freshmen seminar groups. This year, however, the groups were assigned before class registration was held due to the pandemic.


Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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