’Cane Kickoff 2019 is right around the corner

Orientation Fellows prepare for 'Cane Kickoff in the Shalala Student Center. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

By Ashley A. Williams

Orientation Fellows prepare for 'Cane Kickoff in the Shalala Student Center. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

’Cane Kickoff 2019 is right around the corner

By Ashley A. Williams
What to expect as the University of Miami welcomes new students.

The University of Miami campus will be abuzz soon as first-year, transfer students and their families attend new student orientation, also known as ’Cane Kickoff. The program begins Monday, August 12.

Hosted by the Department of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement (OCSI) with participation from partners across campus, ’Cane Kickoff programs support more than 3,500 new students and their families through their transition to UM. The Orientation staff also includes a host of existing students who are dedicated to welcoming new students to the University.

This year’s celebration kicks off at the Watsco Center, which will serve as the new centralized location for all new students to check-in and take a picture to receive their essential ’Cane Card (university identification card). Resident students will also check-in to their on-campus room assignments, and family members may also check in to the Family ’Cane Kickoff Program during this time.

“This new centralized check-in process sends the message that we are ‘One U’ to the newest members of our Hurricanes family,” said Michael Baumhardt, director of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement. “And since Student Affairs strives for operational efficiency and service excellence in all that we do, a centralized check-in has not only aligned our location and operating schedules, but also streamlined many technology and staffing needs to be more efficient.”

Housing and Residential Life will continue its partnership with University and Student Services (USS) to bring its streamlined Cruise Ship Move-In™ to incoming resident students.

“Partnering with USS has significantly improved the move-in experience for our new resident students and their families,” said Bryan Ensel, associate director for operations and facilities with Housing and Residential Life. “Its continued success has allowed us to fine-tune and enhance the experience where we can – most notably working with OCSI this year to incorporate ’Cane Kickoff check-in into the flow.”

Spread over seven days, ’Cane Kickoff includes both required and optional events that will introduce new ’Canes to campus life at UM, as well as the many resources available to support students throughout their academic careers. New students will have the opportunity to take part in an exploration of academic, social, and cultural programs to help get acclimated to campus.

Baumhardt strongly encourages incoming students to attend Experience UM sessions to learn more about getting engaged in campus and to sign-up for the various Experience Miami off-campus excursions including Orientation Outreach, the University’s first service day of the year.

Rising seniors and program coordinators Emma Lam and Michelle Marino lead and manage a group of 175 student staff who fill various roles to make ’Cane Kickoff a success. They are responsible for recruitment and training of orientation student volunteers as well as the overall coordination of ’Cane Kickoff’s many sessions.

Throughout ’Cane Kickoff, orientation fellows (OFs) who are upper-class student volunteers will help guide incoming students in collaboration with resident assistants, commuter assistants, transfer assistants, and first-year fellows. 

“Since we were once ’Cane Kickoff participants ourselves, our team of students knows what works and what doesn’t work to connect with new students,” said Marino, who is majoring in public relations and electronic media. “But in addition to teaching our newest class of ’Canes how to succeed while on campus, these various student leadership roles provide us with valuable skills that will serve us well upon entering the job market once we graduate.”

View the full ‘Cane Kickoff schedule in browser-format or download the Guidebook mobile app.