UND welcomes new students

SCHOOL: Campus community kicks off the start of the academic year.

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More than 1,500 eager new students arrived on UND’s campus last weekend to be welcomed to the university.

According to Assistant Dean of Student Involvement, Cassie Gerhardt, 1,503 new freshman posed for the second annual freshman class group photo in the outdoor bleachers at Memorial Stadium. There were 3,108 students at the all-ages street dance behind the Memorial Union and approximately 450 attended the formal convocation ceremony in the Chester Fritz Auditorium.

“Everything’s been very busy and there’s been a lot of people,” freshman Nate Fischbach from Albertville, Minn., said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I loved the hypnotist and seeing my friend get hypnotized.”

Saturday’s Welcome Weekend events consisted of a performance by hypnotist Kim Bromley at the Chester Fritz Auditorium, who has performed at Welcome Weekend for over five years, plus “After Dark” activities in the Wellness Center, Gorecki Alumni Center and the Memorial Union. These included laser tag, rock-climbing, cooking classes, cycling and Zumba classes, jewelry making, billiards, an outdoor showing of “The Fast and the Furious 6” on the lawn and plenty of free food.

Sunday’s main events were a pep rally, street dance with 32 Below, a local rock band, and the freshman class group photo at Memorial Stadium.

The pep rally featured speakers from every fall sports team, who encouraged students to attend the games and a performance by the cheer and dance teams and the Pride of the North bands to Fall Out Boy’s hit song, “Thanks for the Memories.”

“I guarantee that if you walk up and down tailgate alley, people will give you free food,” UND football coach Chris Mussman said during his speech.

Students agreed with Mussman’s sentiments.

“I love welcoming people in, smiling and encouraging people to come to the games,” junior and football defensive back Javen Butler said. “It’s a friendly environment here in North Dakota, and we’re like a family.”

Butler, who is originally from Pittsburg, Calif. added that his best advice for new students is to always go to class.

Other older students also provided advice for the new students.

“I didn’t take as much stuff this year,” sophomore Will Biernat said. “Everyone should definitely get involved and meet people in the hall. It’s best to branch out.”

Freshman Brian Rogers from Lakeville, Minn. and his family had mixed feelings about moving in.

“It’s been tough leaving home, but I have lots of friends coming here and I can’t wait to meet new people,” Rogers said. “My major’s undecided, but I’ll be figuring it out soon. I loved going on the walking tours.”

Despite all the usual chaos and the over-90 degree weather, move-in day went smoothly for many.

“We’ve been up all morning and the weather has stayed intact. A lot of people offered to help and we’ve seen a lot of pride from them,” Hall Orientation Team Supervisor Andrew James Knatch said. “The only problems have been parking and some athletes who had volunteered to help never showed up.”

After everyone was moved in, a formal convocation ceremony took place on Monday afternoon at the Chester Fritz auditorium. This was like a graduation ceremony in-reverse, where speakers such as UND President Robert Kelley and UND Student Body President Nick Creamer welcomed and provided advice for incoming freshmen.

“Don’t let anyone trick you into thinking you will learn everything in the classroom,” Creamer said during his speech. “Surround yourself with those who will make you the best version of yourself. Too many students let their new freedom get to them by skipping class and falling into dangerous habits, then they start to wonder why they’re even here anymore.”

For the first time in its history, Welcome Week will continue on into Labor Day weekend.

Illusionist Sean Bott performed to a crowded audience on Tuesday. The week will end with WilkieFest outside on the Wilkerson lawn from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, a bike tour of Grand Forks starting at 1 p.m. at the Wellness Center on Sunday, and a movie marathon in the Wilkerson Web Cafe from 10 a.m. to midnight on Labor Day Monday.

“Welcome Week is just an exciting atmosphere and a good opportunity,” said Admissions Representative Casey Koop as he handed out free water bottles to all the sweaty families moving into the residence halls on Saturday.

Jaye Millspaugh is the multimedia editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]

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