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Virtual orientation introduces students to college life
Students sit on the Oxford quad.

In a nod to a longstanding and much-beloved Oxford College orientation activity, this year's week-long New Student Orientation program celebrates the theme of “Oxford Olympics.”

The virtual program takes place August 15-21 and has programmatic elements designed to welcome first-year students to the Oxford community. The Orientation Committee, led by Associate Dean of Campus Life and Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Rhiannon Hubert, wanted to provide information vital to first-year students’ undergraduate success and introduce aspects of the campus culture, and encourage taking care of one another.

The program weaves together some familiar and traditional orientation events — orientation leader skits, welcome from Oxford Dean Douglas Hicks, Resource Fair, Convocation, and Coke Toast — with new virtual activities like online games of Emory Family Feud and Emory Jeopardy, Night Owl Family Meetings of student breakout groups, contemplative practice activities, and an Emory Faculty panel event titled “Emory Faculty Speak: On this Time (Summer 2020) and This Place (ATL)” featuring Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Political Science and African American Studies Pearl Dowe.

Students utilize an app/online platform called Scavify to track their completion of various tasks throughout the week with a point system developed for a friendly competition (in the spirit of the traditional Oxford Olympics in-person event) with prizes for both participation and accumulation of points. The sessions and activities are a mix of asynchronous and synchronous events and include things like photo and video challenges, Canvas modules, games, and trivia challenges.

As always, New Student Orientation is a collaborative effort of departments and offices campuswide; interactive games and challenges in the app include information about important campus resources from the Advising Support Center, Center for Healthful Living, Counseling and Career Services, Emory University Office of Sustainability Initiatives, Oxford College Library, Religious and Spiritual Life, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Residential Education and Services, and Student Involvement and Leadership.

"While the circumstances of new student orientation will be different, our fundamental commitment to provide a welcoming and informative transition to college remains unchanged," says Joe Moon, dean of Campus Life. "Oxford staff have been energetically engaged all summer in efforts to reinvent and develop creative virtual and in-person approaches to offer hospitality and support."

As part of the repositioning to all virtual programming, the student leaders selected by various departments in early spring joined together to form a “super-group” of 40 students serving as Oxford Welcome Leaders (OWLs). Orientation Leaders, Ignite Leadership Mentors, iMentors, Healthy Eagles, Peer Advising Network, and Volunteer Oxford Coordinators are all serving in this role to facilitate daily small group discussions and breakout meetings with their “OWL Family.”


Convocation marks the official start of Oxford's academic year. This year's Convocation is presented in video format and offers greetings from Oxford and Emory leaders, an address from Pearl Dowe, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Oxford, and the Coke Toast.

Watch Convocation Video

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