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Week of Welcome 2014 kicks off fall semester

By Morgan Chandler

Each year during move-in and the first week of classes, The University of Alabama hosts Week of Welcome (WOW) for first-year students. WOW allows students to connect with each other and meet students from other backgrounds. WOW helps new students get familiar with the University and the people that make up UA's campus community. The Capstone Creed is a reoccurring theme for WOW, and serves as the basis of all events hosted throughout the week.

"Our goal was that any student can find an event that appealed to them," said LaToya Scott, director of University Programs.

WOW has a wide variety of events — 55 in total — in their first days on campus so all students could find a way to get involved. All the events were extremely successful, Scott said, but the turnout at some specific events was incredible. Scott said the Veteran and Military Affairs Open House, Student Night at Target, Ripple Effect, Welcome Back Breakfast on the Plaza and Get on Board Day were all a big hit. More than 9,000 students attended the Xtreme Kick-Off event at Coleman Coliseum, and 6,000 students at the Ferguson Student Center student grand opening.

 

Scott said she loved all of the WOW events, but really loved the Xtreme Kick-Off event. It was a great experience for all the students involved, Scott said. More than 900 hours went into planning the Xtreme Kick-Off alone. A group of 23 students with University Programs did the majority of planning and setting up themselves, with the supervision of the staff members in University Programs. "I really enjoy this event because it helps students get involved in planning and gain real-life work experience," Scott said.

 

Freshman Erin Gronewald went to "Night at the New Rec" and said she loved the mechanical bull. "I think the event had everything it should have, food, drinks and music," she said. "And the bull was really cool."

WOW is designed to get freshman and transfer students involved. Get On Board Day is the final WOW event, where clubs and organizations on campus set up tables with information for students to come by and see what they want to be a part of in the coming year.

"Get On Board Day was an awesome experience," transfer student Rion Golden said. "As a transfer, you know Alabama has a lot to offer, but you don't really know what all there is."

Golden said having all the organizations together made it easy to find groups that interested him and find out how to join them. He said it was nice to get lots of free stuff, too.

WOW was successful because of the hard work of many campus partners, staff and students. Scott said over 30 departments and groups collaborated to make WOW a success. "It's phenomenal to see all these departments work together, and it's phenomenal when you compare our Week of Welcome to other week of welcome's at other SEC universities," Scott said.

This story is a part of Student Affairs Highlights, which spotlights students, staff, services and programs that are excelling within the Division of Student Affairs. View more stories at Student Affairs Highlights. Do you have a suggestion for a Student Affairs Highlights story? Email studentaffairs@ua.edu with your idea.