Orientation, Line Camp to be held in person this summer

Baylor Line Camp and New Student Orientation will be held in person for summer 2021, with COVID testing required at the start of orientation. Cole Tompkins | Photographer

By Erianne Lewis | Staff Writer

The New Student Programs office announced that Baylor Line Camp and New Student Orientation will be held in person for summer 2021.

Nathan Shelburne, director of New Student Programs, said this was a decision that took months to make due to the complexities of the situation.

“We went through some similar processes actually in 2020, going into COVID, and determining what was gonna happen last year,” Shelburne said. “There’s a committee of representatives from across campus in strategic departments that have a lot of involvement in the new student orientation program. It’s called the orientation advisory committee. So that group is actually who met throughout the fall to determine what we hoped the program dates would be for this summer. This group has been instrumental in shaping what the best case scenario was in terms of if we were able to do in person.”

Leander junior Emily Nobles, one of the program coordinators for the Student Leadership Team with New Student Programs, said she believes Baylor is taking enough precautions to ensure students are safe during Line Camp and Orientation.

“We are requiring first-year students and their guests to undergo COVID testing upon arrival at orientation, we are limiting the amount of guests a student can bring to one guest, we are maintaining proper social distancing in our programming…” Nobles said. “NSP is actively working with various departments on campus to ensure Baylor COVID protocol is followed properly.”

Shelburne said Baylor’s health management team has been instrumental in handling Baylor’s response to COVID-19, which, in turn, has helped to determine if Line Camp should be held in-person.

“They actually meet daily,” Shelburne said. “They’ve got health experts, facility experts, they have academic personnel, there’s staff, it’s a broad team that meets regularly. So really that group of folks has been the go-to to help us determine what’s safe, what can we do.”

Shelburne said Baylor’s President’s Council, comprised of Baylor President Dr. Linda Livingstone and the vice presidents who report directly to her, ultimately approved the recommendation to have in-person Line Camp based on the health management teams findings. Early spring is when this decision was made, Shelburne said.

“That ultimate decision was made in March with the caveat that if things do continue to progress favorably, then that will be what we are able to do,” Shelburne said.

Shelburne said there is a lot that is still being decided to determine what activities will look like during Line Camp.

“We are hoping that it can be as familiar and similar as possible while at the same time ensuring that priority is above all on health and safety of the participants,” Shelburne said.

Nobles said she served one summer as an orientation and Baylor Line Camp leader; however, this is her second summer as a member of the Student Leadership Team. The Student Leadership Team is compiled of a group of former Line Camp leaders who wish to return to work for the New Student Programs because you can only serve as a Line Camp leader once. Nobles said working with the New Student Programs office is enjoyable for her because she can truly see the love they have for students.

“I’ve worked with the New Student Programs office since I was a freshman, and I’ve seen first-hand the passion they all share for supporting first year students,” Nobles said. “Community is so important, especially during COVID, and I wanted to help NSP facilitate that for the incoming first-year students.”

Shelburne said there will be an online alternative for students who are unable to attend orientation, but he does not anticipate there will be one for Line Camp.

“That will allow those students who are not able to come to campus for any number of reasons to be able to access the pre-recorded video content from the live in person sections. So, we will curate that and make that content available, and that will be accessible likely in July,” Shelburne said.