Campus comes alive with the start of orientation

By Henry Basta & Kyle Hobstetter on July 22, 2021

More than 3,000 students, family members take part in optional, on-campus orientation

Katie Murray has been waiting for this for more than a year and a half.

As director of Towson University’s Office of New Student and Family Programs (NSFP), Murray looks forward to the summer and the orientation program that welcomes the university’s newest Tigers.

But in 2020, orientation and many of the activities NSFP offered were moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year orientation has evolved further, featuring a mandatory online session and optional in-person programming.

And as she watched groups of students walk past her on their way to see their new home on Tuesday, July 20, Murray couldn’t help but get excited.

“We’ve been ready for this for the last 18 months…ever since we left campus,” Murray says. “Seeing the energy, seeing new students actually get to walk around interacting with our campus partners…It’s been fun to see Towson University come alive again. It’s been far too long.”

From July 19–30, the in-person orientation sessions welcome incoming freshmen and transferring students. Starting July 23, second-year students can join as part of a re-orientation program.

Three daily orientation sessions, beginning at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., will feature small group discussions with orientation leaders, tours and chances to meet staff throughout campus.

More than 3,000 students and their family members have opted into the in-person orientation. With this being the first time it’s been optional, NSFP is ecstatic with the turnout.

“It’s been exciting. It’s been energetic, and people have been bearing with this heat,” Murray says. “And we’re excited to meet folks in person. We had some orientation leaders, who graduated this past spring, who came back to do one last in-person orientation.”

CeMaia Wise ’21 watching over New Student and Family Orientation
CeMaia Wise '21 graduated this past spring with a degree in psychology. She came back this summer for one last chance to be an orientation leader. (Alex Wright/Towson University) 

CeMaia Wise ’21 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is one of the orientation leaders who returned.

“I wanted to get that in-person experience,” Wise says. “I’m big on moments, and this is a moment that I didn’t want to miss. [My orientation leader] made me feel like I belonged right way, and I wanted to give that opportunity to students coming in this summer.”

Oladunni Adedapo ’22 is in her second year as an orientation leader. She is an exercise science major with plans to go into physical therapy after she graduates.

A self-admitted introvert, Adedapo says being an orientation leader helped her get out more and learn how to talk with people. After the first year, she admits she fell in love with working with new students.

As she hears their questions and concerns, she always gives the same advice.

“College is what you make it,” Adedapo says. “My brother would tell me that at the end of your four years, if you don’t come out with the job that you want or if you don’t get into grad school, you missed your four-year goal. That stuck with me, because I know what I do in these four years matters.

“When students ask me for advice, I tell them to get involved and make connections, because college is all about making connections.”

New, transferring and second-year students still have time to sign up for an orientation or re-orientation session. To keep up to date with NSFP, check out their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.