COVID-19: Triton Day Held Virtually Amidst Pandemic

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UC San Diego held its annual Triton Day for accepted students for the first time as a wholly virtual experience on April 4, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This move to an online platform followed Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home mandate for California residents. 

Triton Day is a campus-wide event held every Spring Quarter shortly after the release of acceptance letters to incoming students. Consisting of campus tours, presentations from each major’s department, and the chance to visit the six colleges’ residential and dining halls, this event allows potential future students to experience what life at UCSD looks like. 

The UCSD Guardian spoke with Wiley Bowen, an Eleanor Roosevelt College senior who decided to attend UCSD after their positive virtual Triton Day experience.  

“It was mostly because of the chance that I got to see the atmosphere of campus,” Bowen said. “All of the different student orgs were lined up on Library Walk and every group seemed so excited about what they were involved in, whether it was academic or purely for fun. It got me excited for what my life could be once I came here.”

This year, Triton Day planners faced the unique challenge of providing a holistic overview of UCSD without letting prospective students step foot on campus. Adding to this challenge, departments, programs, and colleges were given less than a month’s notice to transition their programs to an online platform. 

The Guardian spoke with Katie Oberman, an ERC senior who participated in both live and pre-recorded panels regarding students’ questions about her college. 

“I was impressed with how different parts of campus and administration were able to collaborate quickly and efficiently to come up with new solutions,” Oberman said. “We only had about a week and a half, but I think the university was still able to provide a good amount of resources to admitted students. It definitely wasn’t the same as past Triton Days, but I’m glad we were able to do at least something.”

Accepted students who originally registered for the in-person Triton Day were given the opportunity Saturday morning at 8 a.m. PST to join an introductory “live Triton Talk webinar” using their undergraduate admissions login. Additional live webinars continued to be hosted throughout the day on a range of topics pertaining to campus life.

Nicole Thompson and Gregory Thein hosting the Eleanor Roosevelt College informational Instagram livestream.

A virtual Triton Day website also went live Saturday morning, offering a series of pre-recorded videos for students to view per their convenience. Video topics include introductory statements from campus officials, overviews of academic departments, and student life. Links to other websites with more specific information regarding financial aid and campus resources are listed after the videos. 

According to the UC San Diego News Center, this site will remain up and have additional content added to it throughout the month of April. 

A more informal platform for Triton Day interaction was provided via social media. Roger Revelle College posted an Instagram story that briefly outlined its college’s motto, photos of campus life, and where students are able to ask further questions. Thurgood Marshall College posted to its Facebook page a video tour of their residence halls so students could see inside their future dorms. 

The Guardian sat in on ERC’s Instagram live-stream, which was hosted by students Nicole Thompson, Chelsea Donald, Rosemina Bazeghi, and Gregory Thein. Over the course of the stream, viewers were able to ask questions about ERC student life such as “Is the writing sequence as difficult as they say it is?”, “What are the dorms like?”, and “Is it cramped living in a triple?” 

Thompson and Thein were able to answer these and other questions in real time, explaining the Making of the Modern World sequence, and advising the purchase of space-saving containers and to communicate effectively with roommates. They also offered more light-hearted commentary on what it’s like to be an ERC student, joking about the college’s distance from the rest of campus. 

A second virtual Triton Day will be held on May 9 for incoming UCSD transfer students. Readers interested in learning more about this upcoming event can visit transfertritonday.ucsd.edu once the site is live.