The fall semester here at VIU is moving right along! There have been some great events at the university, with many more coming up. With the beginning of the new semester, comes the beginning of our activities, including student clubs! This year, we have added a new club to the list – the VIU Sports Club! In the past, VIU had a soccer club for students to enjoy and compete in games and tournaments, but this new club expands to include many other sports, and the greatest part, you ask? All students are welcome to join! I had the opportunity to speak with the  President of the Sports Club, Hamdia Mohammed. I wanted to know a bit more about  the club and gather all of the information for students to join.  Hamdia let me know that the members of the club wholeheartedly believe that “many of the most important learning experiences in a college education take place outside the traditional classroom.”

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Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Badoo, FourSquare, Hi5, Orkut, Pinterest….the list goes on. These are a few of the, literally, hundreds of social media sites that today’s digital generation are using. I sat down today to write a post for this blog, and I got to thinking about social media in general. The way it connects people, promotes causes, and keeps us informed, while simultaneously allowing us to “facebook stalk” our old friends,  is incredible.  It has become so commonplace these days, that I fear people might wonder how they ever existed without the opportunity to waste endless hours procrastinating on these sites instead of doing something productive, such as studying.  All of this culminated in a thought: How has social media changed the face of higher education? I think that the mere fact that I am sitting here, typing a post for a blog that is run by a university, on the topic of higher education is an indication that social media has greatly changed the way colleges and universities network, recruit, and stay connected with their student body in hopes of heightened retention rates.

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I want to take a moment to send my most sincere welcome to all of our new and returning students at VIU for the fall 2011 semester! I know that each and every staff & faculty member and all administrators are so enthused that each of you has chosen to further your education here at VIU! Each semester, the admissions office teams up with the academic departments and puts together a new student orientation program.  Emily, VIU’s Admissions & Student Services Manager, always puts forth so much effort to ensure that the program is informative, engaging, and memorable for our new students. She really goes above & beyond!   Emily told me, “New Student Orientation is important for all new students, especially international students because it provides them with an opportunity to learn about their new environment and the university before classes begin.  It’s also a time for the staff and faculty to get to know the new students!” Emily also informed me that many of our new students are arriving in the United States for the first time as they begin their studies, so it is a great opportunity to help welcome them and begin to make them feel more comfortable in settling into their lives here in the United States.

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