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Macaulay Honors College Virtual Freshman Orientation

Draft Plan for August 16, 2020

Overview: NYC Outward Bound Schools is proposing a three-part virtual orientation this year.

Part 1: Requires Crews of 10-17 students to complete a list of activities that is designed and presented by NYC Outward Bound Schools staff (Sample activities are listed below).

Part 2: A live 3.5-hour virtual session on August 16, 2020 that would be led by a student leader and NYC Outward Bound Schools instructional staff. This day’s program would be based on NYC Outward Bound Schools’ current Virtual Crew Olympics format. Virtual Crew Olympics activities will be connected to all the activities that were sent to the students the previous week of August 16, and activities from past MHC orientations that will be adapted to the virtual setting.

For example, “Level playing field” could be played with students walking towards or away from the camera in response to the prompts.

The Dean’s speech, student leader presentations, and general MHC information could be recorded and played for the students during this presentation. Through these Virtual Crew Olympics-type activities, Crews result in a positive connection between each other, as well as with student leaders and develop overall affection towards MHC.

Part 3: Over the course of the year, NYC Outward Bound Schools will provide three or more coaching sessions to student leaders to help mentor their Crews. These sessions would be either virtual coaching based on the lessons NYC Outward Bound Schools currently gives to our Crew Leaders but adapted to MHC students and MHC outcomes.

Crew structure, Crew Advisor Coaching and Virtual Crew Olympics have worked for our Network Schools, and are executed heavily in all our Network Schools. These are proven structures for NYC Outward Bound Schools and will be an amazing support system that MHC Crews could use to help MHC students and their student leaders to connect emotionally and academically.

Sample MHC Virtual Crew Outcomes

  • Crew members develop their own norms, rituals, and culture to engage, think, and learn to the very best of their abilities both in and out of the classroom virtually. 
  • Students are able to describe what it means to practice the spirit of cooperation and fellowship.
  • Students learn to treat all Crew members of the university community with civility and respect. 
  • Students practice honesty, integrity and leadership to help create a thriving MHC community.
  • Students apply what they learn in Crew to help them succeed in their classes and their college life.

Sample Activities

Part 1 activities would be sent to all students the week prior to August 16, 2020.

These activities would be a section of an initiative or activities to be completed by an individual student prior to the virtual session on August 16, 2020. During the live session, the Student Leader or NYC Outward Bound staff would complete the initiative by showing how the individual sections fit into a larger game or picture.

  • Commonality spreadsheet: Add your name to the columns that apply — languages you speak, instruments you play, books you’ve read during the spring, etc. (This initiative is drawn from previous MHC orientation day scavenger hunts and has been an effective tool in helping the Student Leader and NYC Outward Bound Schools staff to bond with the group).
  • Gridded art project: Students are given a grid section of a larger picture to complete in their own style. The pieces are then digitized and fitted together to complete a single MHC-themed artwork.

NYC Outward Bound Schools Will Provide

  • Overall execution of Parts 1, 2 and 3
  • NYC Outward Bound Virtual facilitation skills training for Student Leaders:
    • Virtual Crew facilitation training for student leaders to prepare them for August 16, 2020 Virtual Crew Olympics
    • Three or more coaching sessions that would help them facilitate Crew sessions to mentor their Crews over the course of the year
  • Virtual Crew Olympics for MHC students on August 16, 2020 – 3.5 hours
  • Customized MHC virtual orientation activities such as ice breakers, Crew bonding team exercises, etc.
  • Technology Platform: Zoom

Sample Timeline

  • NYC Outward Bound Schools would develop the MHC orientation program activities and expand on our Virtual Crew Olympics model in July.
  • We would present practice sessions to half the student leaders near August 1.
  • We would present a revised version near August 7 with the goal of having a finished product for two days of training before the virtual live program in mid-August.

Watch Test Sessions

30-minute version:

60-minute version:

WHEELS Virtual Crew Expedition Fieldwork

Watch a demo session of a workshop developed for our Network School, WHEELS.

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