Employees Welcome New Students to Campus
In what has become a tradition, between 250 and 300 volunteers help welcome incoming students to The University of Arizona campus each year.
Many of those are UA staff members, who help answer questions, direct students and move boxes into residence halls during â€œWildcat Welcome,â€ which is now in its 10th year.
Wildcat Welcome co-chair Juliette Moore came up with the idea for the event, which has grown to 10 days of events meant to orient new students to the UA, life on campus and what the University offers.
â€œAt the time, everyone was doing their own individual program here to welcome students, but we wanted to consolidate our efforts,â€ said Moore, director of UA Campus Recreation. â€œItâ€™s been a tremendous campuswide effort.â€
Wildcat Welcome runs from Aug. 20-29 and involves staff and student volunteers. Classes begin Aug. 25.
Some of the events include a barbeque lunch, open house sessions, an ice cream social, various performances, a block party, movie nights at the Student Union Memorial Center, Mall activities, a student club fair and a job fair with on-campus employers. New this year is a pizza party for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students as well as their allies. The Parents and Family Association is also co-sponsoring the new Wildcat Bon Voyage Brunch, an opportunity for families to give their new Wildcats a formal goodbye.
UA President Robert N. Shelton, Executive Vice President and Provost Meredith Hay and Melissa Vito, vice president for Student Affairs, are among the administrators who have signed up to volunteer during Wildcat Welcome.
Volunteers come from a range of UA offices and departments, including the alumni office, financial services, external relations, minority student recruitment, plant sciences and the UA Police Department. Student organizations also are helping.
David Salafsky, interim director of health promotion and preventative services, is one of the staff volunteers.
â€œItâ€™s a lot of fun,â€ said Salafsky, whose division is part of the UA Campus Health Service. â€œWe all look back to that first week when we were in college and I want to be available to the students and the parents,â€ he said. â€œI want to be a good representative of the University.â€
During a recent Wildcat Welcome orientation, with a room full of volunteers, Lynne Tronsdal, UAâ€™s assistant vice president for student retention, told the group about the importance of their service not only to the University, but to the families.
â€œYouâ€™re going to be the first voice of this institution to many of these people,â€ Tronsdal said.
Kathy Adams Riester, assistant dean of students, also emphasized the importance of involvement during Wildcat Welcome week.
â€œParents are really worried and want to know, â€˜What is my student doing when they get here?â€™ Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™ve been pushing Wildcat Welcome,â€ said Adams Riester, also the Parent & Family Association director.
â€œTheyâ€™re very excited about their experience and what theyâ€™ve been through during orientation,â€ she said. â€œSo I think itâ€™s important that we continue that experience.â€
To learn more about Wildcat Welcome, visit http://www.union.arizona.edu/welcome. If you or your department would like to volunteer during the move-in portion of Wildcat Welcome week, contact Juliette Moore, UA Campus Recreation director and co-director of the event, at email@example.com.