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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

All 2020 New Student Conferences conducted online

Administration+Building
Photo by Meredith Seaver
Administration Building

All New Student Conferences (NSCs) have been adapted into a virtual experience due to the coronavirus.
Last week, the Texas A&M New Student & Family Program (NSFP) announced the change of plans for the NSCs. The NSC website listed some of the major changes to the event itself and the required pre-conference orientations for incoming students. COVID-19 has brought some unexpected set-backs to the functions of the university, but NSFP, like many organizations on campus, is doing its best to adapt to the changes.
The office of NSFP sent out an announcement on April 1 concerning the changes, in which it ensured accommodation for those who registered.
“Through a virtual format we will provide content for students and family members that create ways for you to foster virtual communities to help your transition to Texas A&M,” the announcement said.
NSFP director Emily Ivey said they will be using multiple platforms such as eCampus and Zoom to give the students the best experience possible. They have also offered refunds for the family members registered.
“We have a series of online, pre-conference modules is what we call them, to prepare students for the new student conference,” Ivey said. “We call that Online Orientation. Also the terminology we’re using for New Student Conferences is ‘virtual New Student Conferences.’ That is a distinction that I think is important and helpful.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to evolve, NSFP is doing their best to keep up with the information.
“As information changes we’re adapting our plans,” Ivey said. “What we have today might shift a little this week and the week after that. We’re creating a framework and we’re working and we’re working away.”
Ivey said they will give as much face to face interaction with the students as they can through Zoom sessions conducted by student leaders and members of faculty.
“We’ll have groups of about 25 or 30 incoming students with two orientation leaders and they’ll meet fully through Zoom,” Ivey said. “We also anticipate that we’ll be using Zoom for virtual academic advising.”
Ivey said it was urgent that they make this decision soon because the situation of COVID-19 is ever-changing. Hopefully with this change, she said, they can give those working with the NSC more time to make changes accordingly.
“It is certainly possible that the situation with COVID-19 is going to look different this summer, but we couldn’t wait to make a decision,” Ivey said. “In order to do this well, we needed time to get this infrastructure set up, to execute a new format.”
Ivey said one of NSFP’s main concerns is the lack of connection they expect to see from the virtual format. She said they hope students will still feel like part of the Aggie family.
“A small concern I have is students not feeling connected to the A&M family, because they haven’t had the in-person orientation experience,” Ivey said. “That’s something I keep in the back of my mind, but I think there’s a lot of people that can help us with that, though.”
Many people on and off campus are working to make the transition to a virtual NSC just as welcoming as an in-person experience.
“People that are affiliated with A&M, whether they’re the staff, a current student, a former student, faculty, family members of current students, I think this is a community effort of those individuals to find ways to support and welcome the incoming students and their families,” Ivey said.

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