A host of luminaries from Eastern Mennonite University greeted incoming first-year students and admitted students during a virtual summer admissions event. From left: President Susan Schultz Huxman; Jennifer North Bauman, director of alumni and parent relations; Jason Good, vice president for student recruitment and innovation; Shannon Dycus, dean of students; Matt Ruth, director of admissions, and deans of the three academic schools, Sue Cockley, David Brubaker and Tara Kishbaugh. (Graphic by Jon Styer)

Summer admissions events offer warm virtual welcome to new Royals and parents

Despite challenges and uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, EMU’s incoming Class of 2024 is on track to make their mark. Slated in early estimations to exceed last year’s class in size, these first-years can, so far, be characterized with one superlative (higher average GPA), a diversity of interests (more than 30 majors declared) and geography (15 states represented). The group includes 40 percent student-athletes and 30 percent first generation college students.

“We are very excited about this incoming class,” said Vice President of Student Recruitment and Innovation Jason Good. “They are joining the EMU community equipped with adaptability, perseverance, innovation and a savviness to manage a complex world of uncertainty and change.”

EMU plans to open in the fall in one of several possible scenarios, depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic responds in coming weeks and months. A new goal of summer admissions events —  one was May 15 and another is scheduled for June 13 —  is to help incoming and admitted students, and their parents, stay informed.

With on-campus visits restricted by COVID-19 this summer, Good and admissions staff reconfigured the traditional Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) and Admitted Student events to a virtual format — and expanded opportunities to share information about EMU’s fall semester plans.

A record number of 100 student-participants and 70 parent/guardians attended the May event, according to Director of Admissions Matt Ruth

“SOAR is always an exciting day but we know there are special concerns this year,” Ruth said. “It’s always about the students but even more so now. It was great to see students eagerly connecting with their future Class of 2024 peers, and officially registering for their courses with their faculty advisor.”

In addition to individual meetings with faculty advisors, students heard from a range of administrators and staff on campus about various resources, including campus ministries, counseling services, residence life, and academic support. Student Government Association co-presidents led a session on student activities and hosted a hangout room throughout the afternoon to give students a chance to get to know each other and learn more about campus offerings.  

The schedule provides plenty of opportunities for students to ask questions about what life on campus and in the classroom might look like. 

In addition to sessions about EMU’s athletics and cross-cultural programs, a special parent/guardian forum specifically addressed COVID-19 concerns with a panel including President Susan Schultz Huxman; Shannon Dycus, dean of students; Jennifer North Bauman, director of alumni and parent relations; and Good.

A recording of this discussion is available on the admissions website. Administrators plan to host another forum for parents and guardians in June. 

More information about EMU’s COVID-19 response is at www.emu.edu/coronavirus.