Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The Dean’s Office and Orientation Committee are sponsoring a plan that would make orientation week for the class of 2015 entirely virtual, including a series of YouTube videos and other interactive features.
The new orientation plan will provide new means of communication to foster student interaction, according to Eileen Sanchy-Hoota ‘13, a member of the Orientation Committee. The College will also save on housing and feeding students during orientation week.
“There’s a certain environment that’s created through YouTube comments,” said Sanchy-Hoota. “Just imagine how much more productive diversity workshops will be with constant references to Nazis! I think this could be the most interactive orientation to date.”
Dean of Students Eliza Brown echoed a similar sentiment, referring to YouTube’s current popularity among the youth as a driving factor in the decision to go virtual.
“People love YouTube,” said Brown. “Look what it did for Justin Bieber.”
Brown is currently interviewing potential hosts for the series of videos. According to Brown, one student will be selected for the position, which will combine many of the current advising roles around campus.
The Virtual YouTube Orientation Host and Advisor to the Class of 2015, or VYTOHAC2015, as it is being called, will have to be outgoing, friendly, smart, easy-going, competitive “but not too much so,” and have a knowledge of classic Greek texts, according to Brown.
The VYTOHAC2015 will also be responsible for creating the video series, which will condense the information that was previously provided by Sexual Health, DART, and Diversity workshops, while including several ice-breakers.
Still, according to Dean of Student Life Rochelle Foot, several long-standing traditions will be maintained – but with a “virtual edge.”
For example, Foot hopes that First Collection will be broadcast on a live feed on the Swarthmore website. The ceremony will also be supplemented by glow sticks that are being included in each acceptance envelope sent by the College, which students can hold while they tune in.
“We hope that by moving these traditions into the electronic age, we will be able to provide a better bonding experience for the class of 2015,” said Foot.
Even if something goes awry for an incoming student, “if someone trips on a power cord, for example,” the College will not be liable, added Foot.