Kati Hultman-Schlabach, Director of First Year Experience and Student Leadership at the University of Saint Francis shares her experience coping with the new realities of off-campus education.

  • October 13, 2020
I got my first call from Comevo in February 2020, when I was only a few weeks into my new position as Director of First Year Experience and Student Leadership. I’d never heard of online orientation before, but I thought “Hmm…maybe someday,” and kindly declined learning more, due to the fact that I was brand new to First Year programming and I didn’t want to do anything “too outside the box” this year. Little did I know that 2020 was going to throw us all for a loop and literally EVERYTHING would be outside the box!

As soon as we began discussing the possibility of canceling our on-ground orientation events due to the pandemic, I thought back to that call I’d received from Comevo. I was charged with researching companies that do online orientations and I held virtual meetings with four different companies. After weeks of these calls and Zoom meetings, Comevo came through as the clear front-runner. I was impressed by what Comevo could offer at a cost that was sustainable for our university. While we were investigating our options in somewhat of an “emergency” situation, I could see immediately the long-term benefit to investing in this software for use long after the pandemic.The real fun (and yes, it was truly fun!) started when I began working weekly with my coach, Jeff. This world of online orientations was a completely foreign land for me, and Jeff was the perfect tour-guide. Pulling together a full orientation in about 6 weeks was no small feat, but Jeff made it feel like a manageable process.

I would recommend Comevo to anyone who is looking for an online alternative or supplement to their on-ground orientation. We have been able to reach so many of our new students with consistent, important, and helpful information that they can refer back to time and time again. I am looking forward to re-imagining our on-ground orientation while continuing to use the Comevo online orientation; this will make for a more robust First Year Experience, which is my ultimate goal!