WLWT: UC returns to campus

School spirit, in-person engagement and friendly faces greet new UC students during orientation

Jaiden Link hasn’t quite gotten the hang of "Down the Drive," but she’s trying.

The spirited school inspired cheer was just one of several traditions, facts and tidbits the 18-year-old from Columbus, Ohio, learned about the University of Cincinnati during her orientation session.

She made the trip to the Queen City to do an in-person half-day session at UC’s uptown campus this week. She wants to someday be a child psychologist and has found herself quickly becoming a Bearcat. Link is one of 6,000 incoming students at UC and most are deciding to opt for a face-to-face orientation, though a virtual online introduction is also offered to new students. The activities have been covered by local media with segments on WLWT-TV, WXIX-Fox 19 and WCPO-TV.

“I chose UC because of the atmosphere,” says Link. “I could see myself here.”

Link is opting for UC over her hometown’s Ohio State University or going out of state to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a historically Black institution in Greensboro, North Carolina. Both were options for Link, a graduate of Bishop Hartley HIgh School in Columbus, Ohio.

2021 student orientation

Jasmine Walker, a UC student orientation coordinator, shows her fellow Bearcats and their parents how to correctly perform 'Down the Drive.' Photo taken by Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand.

“Everyone is incredibly welcoming at UC,” says Link. “The orientation leaders were friendly and kind. I’ve had personal conversations and engagement with people. It’s great to have that experience.”

Virtual orientation session began May 18 while in-person orientation started July 12 and will continue the week before the first day of classes on Aug. 23. Students and parents begin their in-person orientation session at Nippert Stadium, the third oldest among NCAA FBS schools.

“This is their chance to see themselves on campus,” says Kasey Drennen, director of new student orientation at UC. “It makes it feel more real to them. Many have not interacted with others because of the COVID pandemic. They can now talk to other college students.”

UC does offer guidance to parents and students attending orientation about COVID-19. 

Students and parents are directed to visit the updated and safety expectations page on the UC website to stay current with COVID-19 guidance, Drennen says. New students along with visitors are asked to either get the COVID-19 check app on their smartphones and complete it or fill out a questionnaire at check stations before entering UC facilities. Temperature checks are also available at those sites.

2021 student orientation

Orientation bought a number of happy new faces, both students and parents, to the University of Cincinnati. Photo taken by Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand.

New student Broderick Mayes says it is UC’s Lindner College of Business that convinced him he wanted to be a Bearcat. It was more attractive to him than other schools he considered such as Indiana University and the University of Kentucky.

“I really liked the hand-on-experience in class and learning at the business school,” says Mayes. “I looked into co-ops and internships. I want to be able to apply what I learn in classes. Co-ops are a big deal at UC, so it was a big draw.”

Mayes says classes in the business college allow freshmen to explore their options before deciding on a path.

“I was really excited to come to campus,” says Mayes. “I got to see buildings I never saw before. After the tour, I like the campus even more. It was great to walk around and imagine myself going to and from classes. Getting to see my dormitory building was really cool.”

2021 student orientation

Orientation at the University of Cincinnati will end the week before the first day of classes start on Aug. 23. Students are enjoying in-person visits to the Uptown campus. Photo taken by Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand.

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