Pre-Flight Brings New Students Together Before Orientation

Claire Zhang (left) and Abigail Fleming met at UMW's Pre-Flight, a pre-orientation program for new students

University of Mary Washington students officially arrive on the Fredericksburg campus on Wednesday, Aug. 22, but incoming freshman Claire Zhang of Ashburn, Va., already has made connections. Zhang is one of 40 new students who participated in Pre-Flight, an inaugural pre-orientation program for first-year students. “I could probably tell you everyone’s name,” said Zhang pointing to the dozens of students playing kickball behind her. Just four days earlier, she would have struggled to name any. The students, along with staff members and graduate assistants, spent four days in the Virginia mountains, divided into a service group and an outdoor adventure group, then returned to UMW for two days of teambuilding activities. “Initially they were a bit shy about connecting and getting to know each other,” said Mark Mermelstein, director of campus recreation and the leader of the outdoor adventure group. “By the end of the week, it was a really, really tight-knit … [Read more...]