Jump Start to be held both in-person and online, amid ongoing pandemic

Amid the continuing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, UBC’s first-year orientation program, Jump Start, will be held partially online this year.

Last year, the program was held completely online. This year, UBC is offering three streams: a hybrid virtual and in-person stream for students living in residence, a hybrid stream for students commuting to campus and a virtual-only stream. The virtual-only stream is offered for those students who are unable to make it to campus.

Interim Senior Director of Student Engagement Janet Mee said that Jump Start is intended to introduce new students to the academic experience and therefore the orientation will reflect the academic experience that students will receive in the fall with classes offered both in-person and virtually.

“Given that those are the two most common options that students will have, and Jump Start mirrors the academic experience, we made the decision to go with both the hybrid option and a virtual option,” Mee said.

Incoming first-year arts student Yasmeen Haji is planning on attending the hybrid option.

“The reason why I chose that option is because I figure that having in-person interactions and being able to experience university life in person before university actually starts will be much better for me,” Haji said.

Haji expressed the difficulty of doing school from home last year and how the experience factored into her decision to attend in-person Jump Start.

Transitioning from a fully-virtual Jump Start last year, Mee said that some minor changes will be made to the curriculum of the virtual component based on feedback received.

Due to uncertainties with travel at this time, UBC plans to remain flexible in allowing students to switch from hybrid to virtual streams if they are unable to attend. However, Mee said that sign-ups indicate that the majority of students are choosing the hybrid option.

Mee suspects that many students will be eager to return to campus life. Haji echoed this, saying that she is looking forward to Jump Start so that she can “experience interactions with people and professors early on and be comfortable before starting university.”

Whether through the hybrid or virtual options, UBC intends to remain accessible to all direct entry students transitioning into university.

“Our hopes for Jump Start are the same that they are every year,” said Mee. “And we do believe that both the hybrid and online options will offer students that opportunity.”