Adelphi's second Freshman Orientation session coincided with the recent Pokémon Go craze, but dd the hit new game prove distracting?
Freshman Orientation is a time for usually sleepy summer campuses to welcome crowds of excited incoming students eager to meet their classmates, register for classes and explore the campus. For Adelphi’s second Orientation session, from July 12-14, the campus welcomed not only half the class of 2020, but also a virtual crowd of Squirtles, Pikachus and other Pokémon, all the digital denizens of the highly anticipated, massive hit app Pokémon Go.
So what happens when a global craze unleashes around the same time as Freshman Orientation? Are new students more interested in capturing Pokémon and conquering the game’s local gym?
Overall, the game provided an opportunity for students to connect. Before even arriving on campus, freshmen were posting and responding about the game on the official Class of 2020 Facebook page. According to Orientation leaders, there wasn’t much difference from week one (July 6–8) and the Pokémon-crazed week two in terms of student engagement. Kendell Francis, an Orientation leader entering his senior year, said the game was a minor distraction for the one student in his group who played. However, Kayla Achan, another rising senior and Orientation leader, said she saw many freshmen so engulfed in hunting Pokemon that they had to be told to put their phones away during scheduled presentations. The game became a popular activity during the students’ free time at night, offering a means to socialize.
Joseph Koehler, a junior, is president of Adelphi’s GAMES Club. He’s also a camp leader at iD Tech, an annual summer camp held on college campuses that teaches high school students about computer science and technology. “I go for an hour-long walk with my campers, constantly looping around all of the PokéStops around campus,” he described. “We work together to hunt around for different types of Pokémon. Teamwork, friendship; all of these things come together in these guys.”
Koehler already has big plans for integrating Pokémon Go into the Adelphi community. “I really want to start using the game for some outside meetings and activities for the GAMES Club once the fall semester rolls around. I have no doubt that it will provide opportunities to help students, especially the incoming freshmen, get acquainted with each other.”
“There’s a lot of Pokémon on this campus,” stated Jessica Campitiello, public relations director for GAMES Club. “I was just walking around today for an hour or two and I caught 12 or 13 already.” Campitiello—accompanied by Emily Neff, GAMES Club parliamentarian, and Jessica Cooper, a member—hosted GAMES Club’s booth at Orientation and said the club experienced a boom in popularity on the heels of Pokémon Go.
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