Students Catch the Mason Spirit as Welcome Week Kicks Off Semester

Posted: August 27, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Probst

The calm on campus early last week was deceptive: Behind the scenes, Mason staff were busily preparing to welcome back more than 30,000 students.

Beginning Thursday and continuing over the weekend, students and parents flooded the Fairfax Campus with carloads of clothes, electronics, books and pictures as they moved into Mason’s 28 residence halls.

President Merten and students
President Alan Merten and a crew of upperclass students were on the front line in welcoming new students to campus during New Student Days.
Photo by Nicolas Tan

Mason opened its doors to more than 2,200 freshmen and 2,300 transfer students, as well as continuing students. Newcomers in particular are being encouraged to catch the Mason spirit with New Student Days and Mason Nation Welcome Week activities.

“We want to rally a sense of community and make them feel like Patriots,” says Ana Sofia Barrenechea, assistant director of student activities and programming in University Life.

New Student Days kicked off with President Alan Merten and Housing and Student Activities staff greeting students and parents at Presidents Park. Events included a cookout, a new student social and karaoke.

Students also had the opportunity to get involved in Happy Hats, a yearlong community service project that benefits children who are hospitalized with serious illnesses.

Monday, Aug. 27, marks the first day of classes and the beginning of Mason Nation Welcome Week. With the help of the University Life staff, students can participate in activities throughout the week to help them learn about social, educational and entertainment opportunities on and off campus.

Some activities taking place during the week include information fairs about Mason, academics and community involvement. On Tuesday, Aug. 28, comedians will perform as part of the College Humor Live Tour. Students are invited to show their Mason spirit on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at a spirit rally recognizing Mason athletic teams and coaches. Student Body President Andrew Shelnutt and other members of the Mason community have volunteered for a dunk tank fund raiser to benefit the Student Government Veterans Fund, which will provide support to a Mason alumnus who was injured in Iraq.

Students and employees can take advantage of free food offers throughout the week by riding the CUE Bus to participating local restaurants, including PJ Skidoos, Sweet Life Café and Glory Days.

To help students who are new to the area, Mason Explores D.C. begins on Saturday, Sept. 1, with sign-up during Welcome Week in the Johnson Center Freshman Center, Room 245. A $5 deposit (to be applied to a fare card) is required. Students and others interested will learn how to ride the Metro into Washington, D.C., and discover some of the city’s attractions.

During Welcome Week the Prince William Campus will offer a Community Showcase, featuring local community and nonprofit organizations. Students can also enjoy free samples of food from local restaurants such as Uno’s Pizza and Potbelly’s. A free shuttle runs between the Fairfax and Prince William Campuses.

For information on the Fairfax Campus Welcome Week, click here.

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