As a new student, how will I meet and make connections with my fellow students?

One of the key ways that we help students start to make connections with one another is through our Polis Program. Each student in the entire incoming class, across all full-time degree programs, is  grouped into one of 15 smaller communities, or a polis; each named after one of Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods. Each Polis is led by an Orientation Leader (OL), who is a second-year Harris student. Your Polis is designed to be as diverse as our student body, with students from different degree programs, ages, races, and countries of origin. You’ll be notified which Polis you are in in late Spring, and you’ll be invited to virtual happy hours with your OL and the other students in your Polis over the summer. Take advantage of this time to get to know these “first friends” because you’ll be participating in activities with them not just during new student orientation, but also occasionally throughout your entire time at Harris.

We also want to make sure that all students, regardless of their location, have informal ways to interact with one another about both academics and other interests. We will provide students access to Slack, an instant messenger platform. Slack is intended to be primarily for social interactions, and we’ll have channels for different policy areas of interest, Harris student organizations, and degree programs.

Of course, Harris Student Organizations (HSOs) play a key role in facilitating student engagement and connection. We have more than 30 current HSOs on a variety of policy areas and identity groups. We will share more information about how to engage with HSOs later in the summer, and HSO events and programming will resume when the academic year begins in late September.

We also strongly encourage you to attend the many virtual and in-person events put on by Harris both over the summer and throughout the orientation experience. We think you’ll find that our events not only provide engaging content and learning opportunities, but provide a way to make connections with other Harris students. Over the summer, event invitations will be sent via email. Once the school year starts and we have more events each week you’ll learn about events through our app, HarrisHub, and also in our twice-weekly student newsletter.