Another School Year Revs Up With New Student Days and Welcome Week

Posted: August 20, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Leah Kerkman Fogarty

Imagine having the entire populace of the city of Manassas swarm George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus. That’s about the magnitude of New Student Days and Welcome Week, a time when Mason’s 30,332 students descend upon campus for orientation, move-in and their first classes of the year.

Thankfully, Mason staff members are thoroughly prepared for this influx, planning various student activities and events to greet and familiarize both new and returning students to campus.

“Welcome Week and New Student Days are designed to welcome our returning students and introduce incoming freshmen to the university,” says Ana Sofia Barrenechea, assistant director of student activities and programming. “Its goal is to kick off the year with a full dose of Mason spirit.”

New Student Days runs from Thursday, Aug. 21 through Sunday, Aug. 24. The 2,229 freshman and 2,222 transfer students will be welcomed with information tents set up in Presidents Park and the Chesapeake area.

On Friday at 4:30 p.m., Mason staff members will forge a new tradition—the New Student Convocation. The convocation is scheduled to be held on the lawn between the Johnson Center and David King Hall. There, President Alan Merten and Provost Peter Stearns will welcome incoming freshman and transfer students. Robinson Professor Roger Wilkins is slated as a guest speaker and Mason’s Pep Band leader Michael Nickens (“Doc Nix”) will play with his Jazz Parade.

“This new Convocation is a way to begin building Mason spirit from, quite literally, day one, and to inspire new students with the notion that they are joining a lively intellectual and social community that has a lot to offer them, and, in turn, expects a lot from them,” says Rick Davis, associate provost for undergraduate education. “The tone will be what I like to call ‘Serious Fun’—two words that should be used together more often.”

Saturday will bring another seriously fun event: The Quest for Patriot Gold, a campuswide scavenger hunt. Beginning at 11 a.m., new students will be faced with solving six challenges in order to win the hunt. Other New Student Days events include:

– Thursday, Aug. 21 – Mason Meet and Greet at Shenandoah Hall’s Corner Pocket, 7 p.m.

– Saturday, Aug. 23 – Take a Peek into Greek: BBQ in the Park at Presidents Park, 2 p.m.

– Sunday, Aug. 24 – New Student Days Film: Iron Man at Johnson Center Cinema, 2 and 8 p.m.

– Sunday, Aug. 24 – Party Like a Rock Star: Guitar Hero Tournament at Johnson Center’s Dewberry Hall, 6 p.m.

Coinciding with the start of classes, Welcome Week begins on Monday, Aug. 25, concluding on Friday, Aug. 29. Several events have been planned by the office of Student Activities to acquaint students with the academic and entertainment possibilities both on and off campus.

A Welcome Week tent will greet students at the Johnson Center North Plaza with free student planners from Student Activities. Free Mason t-shirts, backpacks and snacks will also be available. In addition, every day will bring a fair with a specific focus. The following themes are planned:

Monday: Information Fair will feature staff from campus parking, campus police, the health center and dining services.

Tuesday: Academic Fair will feature information about Mason’s academic achievements.

Wednesday: Spirit Day will feature a kick-off Pep Rally and Spirit Fashion Show along with information about Mason athletics.

Thursday: Involvement Fair will feature representatives from the more than 230 student groups on campus.

Other activities on the Fairfax campus include:

– Tuesday, Aug. 26 – Mason Nation Cookout, Johnson Center North Plaza, 5:30 p.m.

– Wednesday, Aug. 27 – Program Board Presents Comedian Aaron Karo, Johnson Center Cinema, 8 p.m.

– Thursday, Aug. 28 – Student Government Inauguration, Johnson Center North Plaza, noon

– Friday, Aug. 29 – Every Freakin’ Friday: The Dating Doctor David Coleman, Johnson Center Atrium, 9 p.m.

For information about the events on the Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William Campuses, visit the Welcome Week web site.

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