Student Activities and the Student Lounge put on a series of events this week to help new and returning students get plugged in to the school. Keith Davenport, manager of Student Activities and Leadership Development, described the purpose of Welcome Week.
“Our goal overall for Welcome Week events is kind of twofold,” Davenport said. “One is just to create some excitement, there’s some activity on campus just to kick off a semester, just to give some energy to it. Secondly, we’re always trying to help students make connections. Whether that’s connections with other students, or it’s connections with faculty or staff, having those personal connections really helps students be more successful in their classes and feel like they belong here.”
Students were welcomed back on Tuesday morning with free coffee and donuts, something to smooth out the adjustment after break.
“Spring semester we have a lot fewer new students,” Davenport said. “Welcome back snacks, that’s for everybody. ‘Welcome back, hope you had a good break, excited for a new semester, it’s really cold outside, have some free coffee … this is a good place to be, we’re glad you’re here.’”
While the “welcome back snacks” are a traditional event, the other events during the week are chosen by student ambassadors. Student Activities Ambassador Alison Stricklen described the type of event they try to select.
“[Events that are] easy to figure out, they can accommodate a lot of people,” Stricklen said. “You don’t want to have to a long set of rules. It’s just spontaneous … Stuff that’s easy just to setup and teardown. We would definitely steer away from long, complicated events.”
This led the student ambassadors to host a cupcake walk on Thursday.
“We just thought it would be a great way to involve people and play a game and also just to get tasty snacks,” Stricklen said. “We had two full trays of cupcakes [Thursday] … and most of them [were] gone. There were a lot of people that had fun.”
On Friday the department hosted “moment to own it” games, including cup pong and cup stacking.
“[We did] some little mini-games where you can win prizes at the tables in COM,” Davenport said. “Little [one]-minute or two-minute games, and the more you do, the more chance you have to win.”
In addition to the events put on by Student Activities, Andrea Vieux, assistant professor of Political Science moderated the monthly trivia day in COM, an event that started on Constitution Day last semester.
“We do one once a month, and so it fit well with the Welcome Week to get people welcomed to the campus and some activities planned. It flowed within that whole schedule,” Vieux said.
Welcome Week will be hosted again in the fall semester and can be a great service not only to new students, but also provide new opportunities to those returning.
“Even students that [have been] here three or four semesters, we hear often that there’s a lot of things they find out about, resources or services on campus, that they wish they heard [about] the first semester here, and so we hope to make those connections early so we can help them know who to talk to to get the resources they need.”