Newcomers’ first step is on the welcome mat

By Stephanie Bradley

About 460 NI Guides assisted students in moving into their residence hall rooms last Wednesday through Sunday. It was just one of the services offered to new students by NIU during the Tenth Annual New Student Welcome Days.

A five-day schedule of activities was created to help new freshmen and transfer students make a smooth transition into university life by familiarizing them with NIU and helping them meet new people.

Robin Kaminski, student coordinator for New Student Welcome Days, said the activities went well, particularly Move-In on Wednesday and Thursday. A gridlock had been created to help clear congestion at the residence halls. Drivers were directed by maps to the routes they should take according to the residence hall they were assigned to, Kaminski said. “There were no backups,” she said.

Once students were situated in their rooms, they were able to participate in the programs created for them. Pizza parties, ice cream socials and mixers were a few of the activities students attended, Kaminski said.

One of the highlights was the barbecue on Thursday night attended by about 3,000 people, Kaminski said. This, however, was no ordinary barbecue, because the food was served by about 50 NIU administrators, including President John LaTourette, Jon Dalton, vice president for student affairs and Admissions Director Daniel Oborn. NIU’s student radio station, WKDI, provided the music for the event, she said.

Friday Fest was an event all students could participate in. It consisted of about 70 organizations and university offices which set up booths on the King Memorial Commons to give students an idea of the services offered at NIU, Kaminski said.

The NIU Cheerleaders, a fashion show, and music provided by WKDI, were the entertainment at the fest, Kaminski said.

Christopher Porterfield, assistant director of Orientation and Student Assistance, said he was pleased with the way the events went.

Keith Lange, Lincoln Hall Coordinator for the welcome days, said most of the activities—including a volleyball party at Lincoln Hall—went over well.

Lange said an event that was especially popular was Playfair, a non-competitive game. Playfair helped 600-700 students meet each other in an unusual fashion, he said. The coordinators and NI Guides were allowed to do anything with their groups as long as it was safe, he said.

Other activities included Tom DeLuca, a comedian and hypnotist, who has been a regular at NIU for several years, Kaminski said. David Orion, also a comedian who has appeared previously at NIU, provided entertainment.

Every year, Cornfest highlights the events for new students. Food, music and a two and 10K run are a few of the events students and DeKalb residents have participated in for years.

How do the new students feel about the events that have been created specifically for them? New NIU freshman Debbie DeSalvo, who lives in Stevenson South, said she likes NIU a lot.

“Everyone is really friendly,” she said. DeSalvo said she participated in some of the activities, such as the Twister contest and the ice cream social, and participated in sorority rush. “I liked it, but I don’t think I’ll pledge as a freshman because I’d like to get involved in school activities first.”

DeSalvo said her roommate is a girl she knew in high school. They were randomly assigned to the room. DeSalvo said it makes it easier for her in some respects because she has someone she already knows with whom to discover the campus. On the other hand she would have liked to room with someone she did not know so she could meet new people, she said.

DeSalvo said NIU is pretty much what she expected college would be like, although “it will take awhile to get used to it.”

Lange said NI Guides and coordinators all worked together to bring about the events. Each hall made sure their events were listed in the schedule of events given to each new student, he said.