Student Life Offers Support for Rising Second-Year Students

Large group of students in posed picture on campus; all wearing red shirts.

The Class of 2024's transition to Miami University last year was anything but typical. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, last year's incoming students started the semester completely remotely. When they moved to campus in September, most events were held virtually. Residence halls had been de-densified. Some students chose to remain remote throughout the entire semester or year. It was an unusual year.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is still here, the Division of Student Life is taking steps to bridge the gap for second-year students as they return to campus this fall.

“So many of our students are feeling like they haven’t established themselves on campus yet, even as sophomores,” said Jayne Brownell, vice president for student life. “In addition to the classroom experience, living and interacting with peers prepares students for life - personally and professionally - well beyond Miami. We want to help students feel ready to get everything out of their Miami experience that they can.”

Second-Year SurgeSecond-year specific programs began this summer. The Miami leadership academy was a two day, three night Miami Bound program in June coordinated by the office of residence life. Students formed relationships with other second-year students, explored campus and the local community, and interacted with leaders in education, business, the arts, and other fields. Sessions focused on leadership concepts and preparing students for leadership roles around campus.

In July, resident assistants reached out to rising second-year students to offer resources and individual conversations by phone or video. They placed additional emphasis on connecting with students who attended Miami remotely for any part of last year.

The second-year surge is a pre-semester program the weekend before Fall semester. It's designed to connect students with each other, learn about Miami, and re-orient them to campus. Attendees will explore career development, leadership and involvement, and recreation and sports.

Second-year students are invited to participate in welcome weekend activities starting with Friday’s welcome home event at locations across campus. On Saturday, they’ll also be encouraged to attend Live! From the quads, it’s Saturday night! with activities, food, and music on six campus quads.

Professional staff in residence life will prioritize early in-person one-on-one meetings this fall with students who may have a more difficult time transitioning to campus. Target populations include second-year students who attended remotely for any part of last year.

In September, Student Life will survey second-year students about their Miami experience. Staff will follow up to provide specific resources based on student feedback.

“Rising second-year students missed some key transition experiences last year because of the pandemic,” said Liz Walsh, director of orientation and transition programs. “Building community in person can help students feel connected to Miami and to their experience.”