There are many ways for new freshmen to find friendly faces to talk to on campus.
One of the first options is Welcome Weekend, which starts the weekend students move in August 24 and continues until Labor Day. The week consists of many free social events for students of all grade levels. It is also the weekend when students are allowed to move into the dorms, right before classes start.
“I loved all the free food when I went,” UND junior Angela Goebel said.
Although previous Welcome Weekends only lasted three days, the Student Involvement Office decided to expand it this year to include more academic-based events during the school week and provide activities for those students who stay in town for Labor Day weekend.
There will also be social events at three places on the first day; in the past, there was only one option.
This year, there will be fun classes, laser tag and the rock-climbing wall at the Wellness Center, an outdoor movie, grocery bingo, jewelry making and pool tables in the Memorial Union and a Greek social in the Gorecki Alumni Center.
“Not everyone wanted to go to the same place last year and this gives them the choice,” Family and Student Programming Coordinator Kristi Okerlund said. “We want to provide plenty of gathering places for new students to get to know each other and mingle.”
On the evening of the second day, a group photo will be taken of the entire new freshman class at the outdoor Memorial Stadium, followed by a pep rally and a street dance behind the Memorial Union. In case of rain, the photo and pep rally will be moved to the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center and the street dance will be moved to the Hyslop Sports Center.
These group photos will then be given to all the new students to put in their diploma holders that they will get at Monday’s Convocation ceremony in the Chester Fritz Auditorium. Once each student graduates, they can replace their freshman class group photo with an actual diploma.
“(Convocation) is an official ceremony for the beginning of your college career. It’s similar to a graduation ceremony,” Okerlund said.
Monday is also the first day that classes begin, but not until 4 p.m. Tuesday is the first full day of classes. Illusionist Sean Bott will also perform in the Memorial Union Ballroom Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.
On Wednesday, the annual Involvement Expo will take place outside in front of the Memorial Union. This event will feature a wide array of booths advertising student organizations, academic departments and local businesses from throughout Grand Forks. Many of the booths will be handing out coupons and free goodies, such as pens and water bottles. In the evening, there will be a cultural and spiritual-themed event, to introduce new students to the various multicultural, religious and spiritual organizations on campus.
The first football game of the year will be Thursday against Valparaiso, but kickoff and tailgating times have yet to be determined.
The events scheduled for Labor Day weekend are also tentative, but there is currently a volleyball tournament and outdoor movie scheduled for Friday, a festival with inflatable games for Saturday, a bike tour of Grand Forks and possibly an event at Ray Richards Golf Course on Sunday and a movie marathon on Monday.
Throughout the entire week, there will also be many tours and orientations of certain areas of campus such as the Greek community and the Wellness Center, plus offices will be open in case students or parents have questions.
“Everyone’s friendly and here to help, so don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Okerlund said.
There will be plenty of volunteers around to make sure Welcome Weekend runs as smoothly as possible. The H.O.T: Hall Orientation Team will be there to help move everyone into the residence halls. Student Ambassadors, members of the Greek community and University Program Council will be volunteering at many of the events.
“Look for the ‘I love UND’ t-shirts if you need help,” Okerlund said.
Okerlund was also very grateful for all the support from UND’s staff and faculty during previous Welcome Weekends.
Approximately 1,000 students posed for last year’s freshman class group photo, 3,000 attended the street dance and 2,000 attended the other social events in the Wellness Center. Attendance is not required at any of the events but is strongly encouraged.
“When you’re coming to a new area, it’s nice to see such friendly people,” Goebel said. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
Millspaugh can be reached at [email protected]