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New Student Week provides a warm welcome for incoming students

Hundreds of new students take part in exciting pre-term activities

Photo by Amber Glinski

Photo by Amber Glinski

Sam Dunaway | News Editor

New Student Week kicked off with the Sunday night Play Fair. Hundreds of new students gathered in the gym for ice breakers, ultimate rock-paper-scissors, dancing and group selfies. The evening ended with the traditional “W” group photo in the New PE Gym.

Monday’s activities included a convocation featuring Monti Washington. Washington shared his story about growing up in and out of foster homes, spending nights on the streets and being the victim of emotional and physical abuse at a young age. His story was impactful, inspiring and it encouraged students to be themselves and embrace their story.

One of the biggest hits of the week was the Dating Doctor. David Coleman offered real advice about dating, relationships, pickup lines and love.

Maura Cullen has been speaking to Western students for 25 years. Her program, “Toto We’re Not in Kansas Anymore,” explored issues focused around gender, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, age and religion. It’s aim was to lead students to recognize why they discriminate against others and what each person can do to create a more inclusive and diverse community.

The Student Orgs and Activities Fair on Wednesday provided an opportunity for new students to find ways to get involved on campus. Organizations ranging from student government, club sports, religious organizations, fraternities and sororities were in attendance. Students had the chance to sign up to volunteer, find out about club meetings and events and learn more about starting an organization on campus.

As new students begin to explore an unfamiliar environment, it’s important to talk about the use of alcohol in an appropriate and safe manner. The “Shot of Reality” program focused on safe drinking habits, education on the dangers of alcohol and how to take care of a person who has had too much to drink.

A unique New Student Week tradition premiered on Friday — the New Student Sunrise. Students made their way to the McArthur Stadium bright and early to gather and experience the rise of the sun as their first year of college began. This chapter of life comes to an end near graduation when the students gather again to watch the sunset, perfectly bookending their college experience. This event, hosted by the Student Activities Board, is expected to become a lasting Western tradition.

A study done by Jeff S. Howard from East Tennessee State University found that students that participate in orientation like New Student Week are more likely to stay at the university all four years, earn higher GPAs, and feel more connected to the university than those who didn’t. The purpose of New Student Week isn’t just to welcome Western students to campus, but also to make a meaningful impact on their college years and give them the tools they need to be successful throughout their career as a Western student.

From everyone at the Western Journal: good luck all new and returning students, and have a great fall term.

Contact the author at journalnews@wou.edu.