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Miami University’s ‘welcome home’ boxes bring campus to students behind the screen

With orientation gone virtual, university departments came together to send first-year students a taste of campus life.
Miami employees
Photo courtesy of Miami University

Fall orientation usually breeds a lot of energy and excitement on the Miami University campus in Oxford, Ohio.

This year, however, things are a bit quieter, as students are completing the orientation process online.

During a typical orientation, incoming students would be able to go through the dining halls, meet with their peers and see what life on campus is all about, says Maddie Paul, a marketing account manager for campus services at the university.

As of now, Miami’s campus is “going back to normal” for fall semester, with students coming to school during move-in week in August, Paul says. But in the meantime, they can visit campus virtually through a series of videos from several university departments as well as virtual Q&A sessions. 

To send these students a taste of campus, eight Miami departments, including its food and beverage team, came together to create welcome boxes that will ship to students in mid-July. The boxes contain a variety of Miami-related swag, including a small bag of the coffee blend served across campus (Miami Grind), a cookie cutter with a cookie recipe, a campus events calendar, laptop stickers and a keychain.

They’re “a little something from a lot of different departments on campus to say we’re excited to have you here,” Paul says.

Welcome home box
Photo courtesy of Miami University

Though the point of the project was to foster a sense of community for the incoming class, the interdepartmental collaboration was a notable side effect, she says.

Typically, things can be a bit siloed during orientation, Paul says, so “it’s kind of a really cool thing to see all of these departments come together to provide one collective box.” 

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