Welcoming First-years Early and Safely
Housing & Residence Life’s Inaugural “Week of Welcome” Adapts to Connect New Students Despite Distance
When the decision was made last fall to shift the date of First-Year move-in up a week, organizers had no idea how necessary the extra time and space created would be. With plans now to operate under strict social distancing measures, the Department of Housing & Residence Life and its partners are working to provide a “week of welcome” that will allow incoming students to explore and connect to their new campus home despite the unprecedented circumstances.
August 8 through 16 was to be the first to see students move in a week earlier than in years previous, allowing students to build greater familiarity with the campus and a stronger sense of community with a full week of programming and events before classes begin. Now those extra days are proving critical for spacing out the move-in process and adapting other traditionally high-volume activities to maintain social distance.
Following move-in on August 8 and 9, the week will include virtual and in-person workshops and events from FASET, Campus Services, Student Engagement, and other campus partners to introduce students to resources and traditions while building community.
Despite the absence of large scale and in-person events like the involvement fairs and spirit festivals typically associated with weeks of welcome, the team of departments has still found ways for students to get to know their hallmates, the campus, and the resources available to them.
“Given the new campus partner collaboration for programming, Week of Welcome was already going to be a big shift from previous move-in experiences,” said new Housing Executive Director Jenny Cotton. “The need to adjust our plans for safety is even more possible within this new model. Our partners are working to find creative ways to still provide as rich and robust of an experience as these distanced times allow.”
Many in-person programs will be self-guided or in small groups that will allow students the flexibility to go at their own pace, while other elements will be virtual to limit contact. Plans for large events that can be done at a social distance, such as an outdoor movie screening, are being carefully worked out. In recognition of the still-evolving state of campus operations during the pandemic, organizers note that many aspects of the week are still subject to change in the interest of the safety of the campus community.
“We’ve learned through our on-campus resident surveys that some students are craving more connection and community building and need more time to engage with resources to support their time at Georgia Tech,” said Associate Vice President for Campus Services Kasey Helton. “With an opportunity to interact with all of our on-campus services both in person and virtually, participate in job and student organization fairs, learn campus traditions, and interact with their peers and support systems all before classes begin, we believe first-years will have a stronger foundation to set themselves up for academic success.”
Learn more about Week of Welcome at welcomehome.gatech.edu.
Get Involved with Week of Welcome
If you are interested in offering a virtual or in-person open-house, information session, or event during the Week of Welcome, or are interested in volunteering for first-year move-in August 8 and 9, please fill out this form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Move-in Focus on Safety
Week of Welcome begins with first-year move-in on August 8 and 9. Details on the process are being finalized now to maximize safety when the expected 3,000 residents arrive on campus.
- Students will have an assigned move-in time and appointments for move-in will be widely spaced out to allow Housing to limit the number of people in one space at any given time.
- There will also be a drive-through check-in process that will minimize contact and touchpoints.
- Sanitizing stations and enhanced surface area cleaning will also be incorporated into this year’s move-in process.
- Volunteers will be present to assist and will be wearing masks.
Students who are planning to move in can find details at housing.gatech.edu.
Last revised July 8, 2020