Published August 23, 2017
It’s that time again. While it may seem as if the academic year just ended, the fall semester is upon us. And UB will welcome the newest members of the university community this weekend with a variety of informative — yet fun — programs before classes begin on Monday.
Welcome Weekend offers incoming freshmen and transfer students the opportunity to prepare for the start of classes, as well as attend social events and meet fellow students.
It’s part of a new initiative — New2UB — designed to ensure new students get off to a strong start at UB. It brings together what were previously related, but not necessarily coordinated elements of the new student experience.
“We are attempting to build on the strengths of existing initiatives while looking at the transition experience from a student-centered perspective, focusing on the most important and relevant information at each point in time,” says Matt Ardila-Weigand, director of orientation, transition and parent programs.
New2UB aims to prepare students for academic success; integrate them into the university community, both academically and socially; support them through their transition to life at UB; and help them navigate the “business” transactions and processes required of new students.
In addition to Welcome Weekend, other components of New2UB are Summer Orientation and Year One (formerly Fall into UB), which offers programs, resources and guidance to students as they start their career at UB.
New to the opening weekend experience this year are Playfair, a large-scale, interactive icebreaker, and The Hookup, an interactive program that explores college, sex and the hook-up culture, similar to last year’s Sex Signals program. Programming also includes an expansion of the small group meetings, an idea piloted last year. Students’ orientation groups will reconvene and orientation leaders, Welcome Weekend leaders and transfer ambassadors will help facilitate connections and share how to best navigate the rest of Welcome Weekend.
Welcome Weekend officially begins tomorrow when freshmen and transfer students move into their residence halls, assisted by faculty, staff and student volunteers. Those volunteers are also staffing Welcome Tents — located at Flint Loop and in front of the Student Union on the North Campus and at the Main Circle bus loop on the South Campus — on Monday and Tuesday to provide any help students may need as classes begin.
Once students are moved in, they can take part in the Resource Fair and Job Fair, as well as open houses for such key student services as the Office of Student Engagement, Intercultural and Diversity Center, the Silverman Library and Wellness Education Services. They also can hop on a shuttle to do some last-minute shopping at nearby stores like Target and Best Buy.
The marquee event — the traditional Interlocking UB photo — begins at 4 p.m. Friday at the Student Union Field, rain or shine. About 2,500-3,000 first-year students — all wearing UB T-shirts — are expected to come together to form the university’s logo. A. Scott Weber, vice president for student life, will welcome students.
The traditional Welcome Back Picnic has morphed into a carnival so that students have more of an opportunity to interact with each other, connect and make new friends, according to Kerry Spicer, associate director of student activities and organizations. New students will have a chance to meet with leaders of student clubs and organizations, as well as with President Satish K. Tripathi, Weber, student-athletes and faculty and staff who are volunteering at the event. The carnival, to be held at Baird Point, will feature carnival food, games, a zip line and fire dancers.
Other activities during the weekend include UB Pride and Service Day, during which students spend Saturday morning taking part in community service projects in Buffalo neighborhoods; day trips to Niagara Falls, the Elmwood Arts Festival or Canalside; kayaking and canoeing on Lake LaSalle; and the Cyclovia cycling and street festival on Sunday sponsored by Blackstone LaunchPad at UB.
Late Night UB also will be hosting numerous activities for students throughout the weekend to connect them to campus life. In addition to the carnival, there will be a paint party and EDM concert on Saturday night, and an outdoor screening of “Wonder Woman” and late-night pancake breakfast and bingo on Sunday.
The full schedule for Welcome Weekend can be found on the Welcome Weekend website.