Two-day, unmasked new student orientation returns to QU


Autumn Driscoll/Quinnipiac University

New students had the chance to stay overnight in university dorms for the first time during their summer orientation sessions in June and August.

Katie Langley, News Editor

The Quinnipiac University class of 2026 began college last week amid almost nonexistent COVID-19 restrictions, including an orientation that reflected pre-pandemic conditions.

While orientation was held in one-day summer sessions for the classes of 2024 and 2025, this year’s newest students had the opportunity to stay overnight in dorms before the start of their classes.

First-year students entering the university, including commuters, chose from five different orientation dates in June or an additional session in August. Transfer students also had separate sessions in June and August to choose from.

Director of Student Engagement Erin Provistalis said that the time of new student orientation had to be cut from around 25 hours to about ten due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“It was really about wanting to move back to be able to cover more stuff at the orientation,” Provistalis said about the return to overnight sessions. “But also really letting students have that experience of being in the residence halls overnight, spending the night there getting used to that feeling and having that experience.”

New students who came to orientation in June stayed in the Irma and Dana Residence Halls and were randomly placed with a roommate from their session.

Students who attended in August arrived the Tuesday before classes began, moved into their assigned rooms for the year, and completed orientation on the subsequent Wednesday and Thursday.

“I liked that they required us to stay overnight because it allowed us to see where we could possibly be living next year and how life at college would be,” said Gabby Pierce, a first-year software engineering major.

Pierce went to one of the June orientation sessions, so she stayed overnight in a different room than the one she is living in this school year, with a different roommate.

“It was a little stressful not knowing who you were rooming with,” Pierce said. “I feel like it was a nice transition though, so we did not just have to jump right into college.”

With a more relaxed schedule, Provistalis said that the orientation program was able to go over resources, traditions and expectations on day one, as well as split new students up into orientation groups and do icebreaker activities.

The morning of the second day of every session was dedicated to academics, Provistalis said. Students met with staff from the Learning Commons and then broke off into specific schools or colleges to learn more about registration and advising.

The program ended with the orientation leaders sharing things they wish they knew before starting college and allowing new students to share any fears they may have going into the new experience, Provistalis said.

First-year business 3+1 undecided major Madeline Monkiewicz said that she made new friends through her June orientation session.

“Although the presentations were long and boring, I enjoyed it for the most part.” Monkiewicz said.

Kripa Patel, a senior health sciences studies major, experienced traditional two-day orientation as a first-year student in 2019 and went on to be an orientation leader in 2020 and 2021, when orientation was limited to one day due to COVID-19 protocols. Now, she is an intern for the orientation program and said she is very glad that the program has returned to its original schedule.

“We were able to incorporate what we’ve been doing for years prior called Evening Entertainment,” Patel said. “Where students can kind of let loose, they can bond with the orientation leaders and other students in their group and students in other groups as well.”

Evening Entertainment, Patel said, includes activities like playing games and dancing the “Cupid Shuffle.”

Paul Cappuzzo, a senior economics and political science major and orientation program intern, said that more time at orientation strengthens the relationship between orientation leaders and students and between fellow first-years.

“I certainly think that first-year students enjoyed the overnight model more,” Cappuzzo said. “It allowed them to find people they’d be able to connect with during their first couple of weeks on campus.”

In addition to the longer sessions, this summer’s orientation sessions were also mask optional, a new rule since face coverings were required at orientation during the summer 2020 and 2021 sessions, Provistalis said.

“I think that at this point, we’re two and a half years into (the COVID-19 pandemic),” Provistalis said. “My hope was that people would be smart and be respectful and so if they had gotten COVID or they weren’t feeling well, they would choose to not come to orientation and if they were getting over (COVID-19) or they had a close exposure that they were going to choose to mask.”

Despite not requiring face masks, Capuzzo said that the orientation staff took steps to reduce the spread of illness among new students.

“We asked OLs to test frequently, regardless of symptoms,” Cappuzzo said. “We also encouraged mask wearing for those who may have been more comfortable doing so.”