The University Record, August 14, 1995

Week-long Welcome activities involve thousands

Week-long Welcome activities involve thousands

By Janet Nellis Mendler
News and Information Services

Welcome to Michigan, which begins Aug. 30, is expected to involve more than 6,000 new students and an unprecedented number of faculty, staff and student volunteers in a week of activities preceding the start of classes Sept. 5.

Now in its third year, Welcome to Michigan not only draws new students into their community, but is bringing campus units together in a variety of ways, according to its director, Debra Moriarty of the Office of Student Affairs.

"The program has really become a model for collaboration across campus," Moriarty says. "Academic support units are sponsoring programs with student affairs units and faculty have come forward in unprecedented numbers to share their time with new students."

A large number of faculty, staff and current students have volunteered to answer questions at Welcome Centers in the Michigan Union and in North Campus Commons, says Adrianna Kezar, Welcome's marketing coordinator.

"The strong faculty involvement shows faculty care about and are interested in supporting students," she says.

• The week of events begins with the New Student Convocation, 7-8 p.m. Aug. 30 in Hill Auditorium. Speakers include President James J. Duderstadt, Michigan Student Assembly President Flint Wainess and Mary Brake, associate professor of nuclear engineering. There also will be musical presentations by soloists and the Friars and Parallel Motion.

At the end of the program, students will follow the Michigan Marching Band to the Michigan Union for Escapade '95, an evening of food, entertainment and prizes.

• Aug. 31 has been designated as Academic Programs Day, a series of events allowing students to interact with faculty and staff from each school and college.

The day will feature "Focus on Faculty," a number of activities through which students will be able to meet faculty in an informal, relaxed environment. Among the activities: Faculty member George Estabrook will help students explore the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and Nick and Peg Steneck will take students on a campus tour, introducing them to the history of the University.

• Two sets of activities that will help students adjust to life in the larger Ann Arbor community also are scheduled.

On Sept. 1, Community Plunge will take student volunteers to more than 40 area sites to help organizations serve disadvantaged clients, clean rivers and paint houses.

Based on student surveys indicating a need for information about shopping, food and entertainment, Welcome to Michigan organizers worked with merchants' associations, the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors' Bureau to offer three "M" Town tours, billed as "an insider's guide to what to see and where to go." Participants will "storm the town" by foot, bike and bus accompanied by experienced student guides on Sept. 1 and Sept. 4.

In addition, AATA is offering free rides Aug. 30-Sept. 3 on routes that go to Plymouth Mall/Traver Village and to Oak Valley/Briarwood.

• Also on Sept. 1, and repeated on Sept. 4, a number of academic and service units are offering "De-stress With Success" workshops to provide information on succeeding in the academic environment.

Included are two offerings by the Reading and Learning Skills Center: "Breaking into the Major League: A Game Plan for Academic Success" and "Personal Plan for Peak Performance."

• Two events over the Labor Day holiday weekend promise to be a large draw for students and also involve a large number of volunteers from the campus community.

"Maize Craze" on Sept. 2 brings the Marching Band and cheerleaders to a pre-game picnic on Ingalls Mall, followed by the Wolverine/Illini football game via a gigantic screen in Hill Auditorium. Later, students can choose between an ethnic food "Taste of Culture" at Trotter House, a skating party at Yost Ice Arena, several movies, and a dance at the Union.

Funday Sunday (Sept. 3) on the Diag offers international entertainment and cuisine at Global Village Day; "Jump into Computing," a chance to tap into Wolverine Access via e-mail; "Succeeding In Cyberspace" at the Shapiro Library; and an open house and poster giveaway at the Museum of Art.

• Because classes start Sept. 5--two days earlier than usual--offices that would not typically be open over the Labor Day weekend will staff "Welcome Center Plus" on Sept. 3. Representatives from admissions, financial aid, LS&A academic advising, housing, orientation, the registrar and the graduate school will be on hand at information tables in the Art Lounge in the Michigan Union to answer student questions and offer advice.

Moriarty is especially pleased with the wide variety of events for new students throughout the week that are being hosted by University Housing, including hall icebreakers and socials, theme dinners and block parties on Aug. 31.

For more information and a copy of the complete Welcome to Michigan program, call 764-5132.