Welcome week, an opportunity for students to move into their residence halls, buy their books and supplies for the next semester, and just get themselves acclimated to the university.
But it is really the tip of the iceberg.
Welcome Week, or at least at my institution "Fall Welcome," is a time for celebration! "Congratulations! You are a Bronco! Welcome to Western Michigan University!" It also is somewhat viewed as the kick-off to the rest of a student's collegiate career. Whether it is 4, 5, or 6 years, it all starts the week before the fall semester in your first year. There is a wide variety of ice breaking events and information sessions for an entire week. Everything we would hope a student would want to know is somewhere throughout the week.
But what do we really hope a student gets out of a "Fall Welcome"?
The excitement of a new year is really great. At the same time, our excitement as members of different departments on campus can inherently hinder the start of a student's time. We all want our students to know we exist, but do we have to do it all at the same time? Or, is it more important to be unified in welcoming the new class into the family?
Reflecting quickly on my own experience, which was not that long ago in the real scheme of things, I felt like my mind was on overload. While it was exciting to see all the different organizations that I could get involved in, I was also learning about the different services. In the meantime, I was still trying to figure out what my ID card could do for me and why I should always have it on me.
Again, what do we really hope students get out of a Fall Welcome? This is not a hate on welcome weeks post, but rather the opposite of that. It is a conversation starter on a program that I personally hold dear to my heart. I am not the leader I am without the experience I had, but that is a different conversation.
- What is working at your institution, what do your weeks look like?
- Are they even weeks? Days? Day?
- Who do you have involved in the program?
I know a future post will be the influence student leaders have in this crazy equation and how they are so very essential to this kind of program.