Chapter 11: Orientation series for new students

11.1 Supported transition programmes and orienteering

11.1.1. New students with disabilities

  • Students are advised to proactively familiarize themselves with the campus life and environment during the orientation period.
  • Students are advised to proactively voice out their needs and concerns and suggest any constructive solutions.

11.1.2. The University

  • Discussion about the arrangement of accessibility service for students with disability should begin as early as possible to prepare for the new semester.
  • Campus facilities orienteering assisted by Accessibility Coordinator and/or trained student helpers can be organized before the orientation activities and course enrollment.
  • Summer transition workshops can be co-organized by the Office of Accessibility Service and the Office of Students Affairs and/or the Campus Counselling Department to prepare students with disabilities for the psychosocial adjustment to the campus life and familiarize students with the accessibility services, e.g. how to declare disabilities, activate accommodation plan, and borrow assistive technological aids.
  • Counseling service might be provided to help students cope with emotions in face of issues such as unfamiliar environment (such as anxiety), and differences learning modes (such as between secondary and tertiary education).
  • The University may invite representatives of relevant NGOs to organize training workshops for staff who will frequently encounter newly admitted students with disabilities, such as teachers from the unit of their major of study programmes. Refer to Chapter 6 Awareness-raising.

11.1.3. Student alliance

  • Current students with disabilities will be the mentors offering peer support and experience sharing to help new students with disabilities adapt to university life.
  • Mutual respect and help are emphasized.

11.2 College enrollment

  • The university should explicitly mention the availability (or the lack) of accessible facilities in the college environment and facilities to inform students’ choice of college.
  • In any case, the university should not reject students’ enrollment on the basis of their disability status but should strive to provide accommodations to respect students’ own choice.
  • Students with disabilities might reach the Equal Opportunities Advisor of the college for enquiries about accessibility of the college environment and facilities.

11.3 Orientation camps

Note: It is commonly known as “Ocamp 迎新營” in Hong Kong.

11.3.1. The University

  • Strive to establish an accessible campus at the outset.
  • Incorporate accessibility awareness and practical guideline into the training for the executive and organizing committees of the student-led orientation camps.
  • Office of Accessibility Services provides consultation for the student leaders.

11.3.2. Student leaders

  • Arrange all-rounded accessibility for venue, transportation, and programme content in the first place. Refer to Chapter 8 Accessible event planning.
  • In case student leaders foresee that some of the venues and/or programme content are potentially inaccessible to some students with disabilities, they should consult the Accessibility Service Coordinator for advice and feasible solutions as early as possible.
    • Whenever possible, discuss with the enrolled students with disabilities to work out any alternative plans and accommodations as early as possible.
  • In any case, do not reject students’ participation on the basis of their disability status. Strive to provide reasonable accommodations.
  • Include an accessibility statement in the enrollment notice such as: “To obtain disability-related accessibility services, students with disabilities are welcome to contact the Accessibility Service Coordinator at 23452345 or <[email protected]> as early as possible. For enquiries about the orientation camp, you are also welcomed to contact the student leaders at 21232123 or <[email protected]> for further discussion.”
  • Allow the participation of personal assistants and service animals
  • Arrange volunteer helpers. Ask and understand their needs before helping people with disabilities.
    • A good question to ask might be “May I help you? What can I do to help you complete (a task) successfully?”
    • Uninvited help may be offensive. Ask them directly if you are uncertain about how to help.
    • Do not be offended by a refusal. Respect their personal choice. Do not force students with disability to be accompanied by helpers all the time.
  • Ensure both the student leaders and the participating students with disabilities know about the contact of the 24-hour helpline of the Estates Office as sometimes orientation activities might be held until midnight or even overnight.
  • Ensure accessible hostel arrangement if applicable.
  • Ensure there is emergency evacuation plan for participants with and without disabilities. Refer to Chapter 5.2 Emergency evacuation.

11.4 Inauguration ceremony and White Coat Ceremony

  • Inauguration ceremony and White Coat Ceremony are significant events for new students as they mark the beginning of the university life.
  • It is very important to ensure accessibility of the ceremony to make it a truly inclusive and memorable occasion for students with and without disabilities.
  • Refer to Chapter 8 Accessible event planning.