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USG hears Class of 2024 Orientation, FOCUS speaker series, updates from ODUS

<h6>Caitlin Limestahl / The Daily Princetonian&nbsp;</h6>
Caitlin Limestahl / The Daily Princetonian 

During the weekly Undergraduate Student Government (USG) meeting on Nov. 15, Orientation Program Coordinator Neena Robertson of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) presented results from the Class of 2024 orientation survey and a review of the week-long event for first-years.

“We wanted to make sure that our curricular goals that have guided orientation continue to guide orientation even though we were working in a virtual space this year,” Robertson said.

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According to her presentation, those goals comprised intellectual engagement and scholarly inquiry; community values, expectations, and standards; inclusion and belonging; health and well-being; and affiliations and traditions.

Orientation events began in July this year, with the University offering “summer engagement cohorts” for the first time. The cohorts, groups of first-year students led by a junior or senior, met for six weeks to discuss college community and the eventual transition to campus.

In the survey results Robertson highlighted, 48.5 percent of first-year respondents felt “Quite Well Prepared” “to participate in a Virtual Academic Environment,” and 16.2 percent felt “Very Well Prepared.”

Responses to the question “How well prepared do you feel to participate in a Virtual Co-curricular Environment?” were more varied, with 38 percent of respondents feeling “Somewhat Prepared,” 34 percent of respondents feeling “Quite Well Prepared,” 11 percent of respondents feeling “Very Well Prepared,” and 17 percent of respondents feeling “Unprepared.”

Ninety-one percent of all respondents — accounting for 20 percent of first-years — reported that they felt engaged with the orientation events.

Later in the meeting, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students and Director of Student Leadership and Engagement Ian Deas presented an overview of ODUS’s new FOCUS series.

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“Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity — in particular racial equity — [are the] guiding objectives that steer the work of ODUS,” Deas said.

Deas said that FOCUS, “a series of events encouraging racial scholarship and action throughout the Princeton community and beyond,” advances those objectives.

Deas went on to explain ODUS’s long-term plan, for which inclusion remains a core principle.

“Ultimately the impact [of our] work is deeply dependent on the degree to which we include and incorporate diverse perspectives and experiences. The FOCUS speaker series aims to advance that plan, the campus life plan, and to answer the call from President Eisgruber.”

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In June, University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 called on the University Cabinet, a group of senior academic and administrative leaders, “to identify specific actions that can be taken in their areas of responsibility to confront racism.”

The FOCUS series has held three speaker series events thus far, titled “Group Attitudes, Identities, and U.S. Politics,” “Documenting Privilege,” and “Writing About Our Identities.

USG Senate meetings are held via Zoom every Sunday at 9:30 p.m. EST.

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