Haskell community welcomes back students during in-person orientation for those selected to return to campus

Last week student orientation was held in person for the first time since Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) closed its campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the university has selectively reopened student housing, it’s welcoming qualifying first-semester freshman/transfer students, graduating seniors, and student-athletes back to campus.

“Welcome back, students. We are excited to have you back,” says Alexandra Holder, current Miss Haskell. “I know it’s been a long time since we’ve seen you face-to-face, so I’m excited to see all of you guys back on campus… I hope this year we are able to push through the struggles together with one another and do good academically, spiritually, mentally, and physically.”

Leading the “welcome” at check-in, Dorothy Stites, Director of Admissions, said, “This is my favoritest day in the whole world because the students are so excited—you know you can’t help but be excited for them. I’m so glad to see them; it makes me feel so much better.”

Students started arriving Wednesday over a staggered orientation schedule with activities organized by Freda Gipp, University Services, which continued throughout the weekend. Students attending orientation were connected to campus services like housing, dining, safety, and academic services; created academic plans; registered for classes; and participated in many events led by the orientation team.

Students compete in Rock-Paper-Scissors during an orientation icebreaker. Photo by Jared Nally

Daryn Berryhill, a student ambassador leading orientation, said, “I love it. I’m glad I’m able to connect to a lot of students now—I just like the community coming back.”

Jaelyn Two Hearts, a first-semester transfer student, commented on her experience at her previous university last year, “Online was a little difficult, but I was able to adjust toward the end of the school year. I’m excited to be back on campus because I know I learn a lot better that way.” Two Hearts is excited to have access to on-campus resources and looks forward to her upcoming season of Basketball.

The Haskell Indian Health Center also attended check-in, welcoming back students. “Number One, It’s exciting to see all the movement and people back on campus again. It looked just so dead for over a year, and now it’s got life again,” said Cdmr Shannon Lowe, Administrative Officer. Lowe said the center is there—and has been there—for students and the community whether they are on or off-campus.”

Online orientation called Go2Oreintation will take place this week for students who did not qualify for housing or are attending HINU online.

Students Playing “Sweep the Tipi”. Photo by Jared Nally

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