Posted: 8/17/21

TAMIU Orientation Activities Welcome Over 1,000+ Incoming Dustdevils



In preparation for the Monday, Aug. 23 start of the Fall 2021 semester at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), incoming Dustdevils have had the opportunity to participate in a beloved campus orientation tradition before beginning their TAMIU journey.  The last such session is this Thursday and Friday.

To date, some 1,078 first-year students have joined in the two-day student orientation experience, affectionately known as Dusty Camp. During Dusty Camp, students learn more about campus services, academic expectations and receive a first-hand experience of student life on campus. Student Orientation Leaders (OLs) guide students throughout their Dusty Camp experience.

This year’s OLs included Lyndsey Alaniz, Anabel Contreras, Julian Escalante, Arizbeth Espinoza, Leilany Garza, Jaden Gray, Victoria Moreno, Diego Partida, Barbara Perez, Derly Rojo, Jonathan Ruiz, Adamari Salinas, Morgan Torres, Yamile Vasquez, Astrid Veliz and Mayela Villarreal.

While orientation activities were halted last year because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dusty Campers were offered a choice this year between in-person or virtual orientation experiences.

Overwhelmingly, students opted for the in-person experience, resulting in all Dusty Camps being held in person, including an optional overnight stay at the Residential Learning Community, explained Dr. Nicholas Hudson, Student Orientation, Leadership and Engagement director

“Throughout all of our orientation programs, we have had the safety and wellbeing of all students, faculty and staff at the forefront of our actions. All attendees had to either provide proof of vaccination or undergo a rapid COVID test to ensure safety. Attendees were encouraged to always wear masks. Additionally, we practiced social distancing when possible and held some programming outside,” Dr. Hudson said.

He reiterated the health and safety measures taken during each orientation session that helped ensure participants’ wellbeing.

“Additional cleaning efforts were instituted. We also had a vaccination drive after every Dusty Camp to ensure that students who had not had a chance to get vaccinated were able to do so. We did our best to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for everyone within the guidelines provided by the State of Texas, the A&M System and the TAMIU Health and Safety Team,” Hudson observed.

He noted the opportunities offered through these in-person experiences for students to truly connect with their University community and gain a better sense of what that  experience truly means.

“Students left feeling as if they understood institutional expectations related to academics, engagement and safety. Students enjoyed connecting with their fellow Dustdevils, faculty and staff, a great change of pace from being behind their computer screens as they had been throughout the last year,” Hudson said.

Additionally, 355 students participated in Dustdevil Transition, a one-day orientation session aimed at preparing students who are transferring to the University from another higher education institution.

The University also held its first “How To TAMIU.” With more than 60 students in attendance, this one-day orientation event focused on University sophomore students transitioning back to an on-campus experience after spending the past year in a virtual classroom environment.

“All TAMIU Orientation programs have five goals for our students to accomplish during their experience: discover their purpose for attending TAMIU; develop connections with other Dustdevils; learn all available resources at their disposal to ensure academic success; understand academic requirements and the academic culture of TAMIU, and finally, build their knowledge towards being University students,” Hudson concluded.  

Activities held throughout several of the orientation sessions included meeting with college deans, touring the campus and learning more about student resources. Students also learned more about the University’s rich history and campus traditions.

Throughout the scheduled Dusty Camp activities, first-year students also participated in Loteria and Laser Tag, as well as exploring the University’s Rec Center and Dusty’s Den as part of “Get Involved Night.”

Several parents and family-only orientation sessions also took place virtually. These live, question-and-answer sessions were made available in both English and Spanish. Recorded sessions are available for viewing at https://www.tamiu.edu/sole/PFOrientation.shtml.

For more information on this year’s orientation activities, visit https://www.tamiu.edu/sole/orientation.shtml.

TAMIU’s Fall 2021 Registration is now underway. For detailed registration information, visit go.tamiu.edu/registration21  

TAMIU’s Fall 2021 plans are focused on a return to a full and vibrant on-campus experience for all students, faculty, and staff at its 300-acre northeast Laredo campus. Classes begin Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. Late registration ends Friday, Aug. 27.

For more information, contact the Office of the University Registrar at 956.326.2250, email registrar@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the University Success Center, suite 121.