It has been announced that Orientation Week will take place solely online. 

University College Dublin (UCD) Registrar Mark Rogers declared in an email that Orientation Week, a week dedicated to helping first-year students navigate college life, will take place virtually following the revised public health guidelines released by the government on Friday. 

The L&H (Literary and Historical) Society explained how this year’s plan compares to their previous Orientation Week events. Under normal circumstances, a night out to a club is organised, with tickets sold throughout the week and pre-drinks held on campus. However, in anticipation of further restrictions the society has been organising events that can be easily moved online such as speed friending and a movie day. The society’s main event, the house debate, will go ahead as planned as the society had always intended it to be streamed. Similarly, the UCD Law Society will be running their traditional ‘Dubs v Culchies’ debate virtually. This comedy debate is traditionally attended by all incoming law students. LawSoc looks forward to opening up the debate to even more students by hosting it virtually. 

The UCD Food Society won the UCD Societies ‘Society of the Year’ award last year after their series of successful events where they provided free food to thousands of students. While they are disappointed that they won’t be able to run their events in the usual style, they have some exciting plans for Orientation Week nonetheless. They will be hosting a virtual cocktail class on their Instagram on Thursday and will be running a series of giveaways in lieu of in-person events. 

For a society such as the UCD Music Society whose events traditionally centre around live performances, online orientation poses a particular problem. However, they plan to host events using software that will allow people to play together at distance. Events such as the regular coffee mornings hosted by Music Society not being able to take place this week will be a change for the society. For UCD Musical Society the focus of the week will be on making their social media content as engaging as possible for incoming students. 

For smaller societies, the move to online orientation also poses a challenge. St. Vincent de Paul UCD has been quick to move their ‘Introduction to volunteering’ event on the 23rd of September to zoom. Meanwhile, UCD Volunteers Overseas has chosen to launch a social media campaign to introduce their new committee and spread awareness about the society. This is in place of their traditional ‘Get to know VO’ event, held in the global lounge every year. 

In addition to those mentioned above, many other societies will be running their own virtual events in an effort to welcome new students to campus whilst complying with public health guidelines. Although it may seem daunting to enter university under the current circumstances, it is certain that societies are doing their best to welcome students and provide opportunities to get involved and enjoy Orientation Week. 

Emer Nolan – Reporter