Starting Thursday, incoming students will get the Cardinal-red carpet treatment with UofL’s official Welcome Week.
The series of events and activities help first-year, transfer and returning students get a jump start on the fall semester.
“This time is designed to help students meet new and upperclass students, connect with faculty and staff and make UofL their new home,” said Dr. Glenn Gittings, director of Student Activities Center and Special Programs.
There are a number of new elements this year. For the first time, First Year Experiences co-hosted Welcome Week with Student Affairs. But, starting next year, Student Affairs will be the primary sponsor of Welcome Week.
“Student Affairs has always been critical to Welcome Week,” Gittings said. “This transition is meant to maximize synergy opportunities and connect with all Student Affairs facilities and departments.”
Move-in Day moved from Wednesday to Thursday, which created a four-day welcome week. Key signature events, like the Cardinal Kickoff Picnic, Engage Lead Serve Board’s SOUL and Kick Back in the Stacks, remain.
Friday will feature academic and student success programming. In the morning, all first-time freshmen will meet in small groups with a peer mentor. In the afternoon, students are encouraged to take advantage of Academic Unit Experiences, where they can get questions answered and meet faculty, staff and students from their intended area of study.
Those events are a “purposeful opportunity for students to develop more personal, individual connections even before class starts,” Gittings said.
Research shows that establishing those kinds of connections is important for boosting student retention.
The Welcome Week schedule was published in time for Freshman Orientation, which allowed students and families to plan ahead to take the full advantage of all the events and activities.
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to download and use the UofL New Cards app. It includes Welcome Week schedules, frequent contacts, interactive campus maps, dining services, hours and more. Students may access the app’s robust resources all year long.
Gittings said a majority of the incoming freshmen have downloaded the app so far.