Welcome days celebration extended

By Stephanie Szuda

The New Student Welcome Days are expanding from four to 10 days to help freshmen and transfer students adjust to campus life at NIU.

The welcome days will run from “move-in” Thursday to the Sunday before fall classes begin, during which the university will host events to expose new students to what the campus has to offer.

“The first few weeks a new or returning student arrives to the university is one of the most crucial periods for exposing them to all the university has to offer,” said Michelle Bringas, interim director of student involvement and leadership development.

The event now will extend through the first 10 days of the new academic year – Aug. 18 through Aug. 28.

The Welcome Days Committee hopes to highlight the diverse university services and events that are available to students.

The extended event will still feature the traditional events it has held in the past, such as the Huskie Bash, said Mary Tosch, assistant director of Student Housing and Dining Services. The Student Recreation Center and athletics department will each sponsor an event. The details of the events and what new events will be held are still being discussed, Tosch said.

The committee hopes all students will participate in these new events, Tosch said.

“They have some new and exciting events I can’t wait to see,” Tosch said.

More than 20 proposals have been submitted for new events, ranging in types that will address campus student services, diversity issues, health and wellness, student life, academic success and entertainment, Bringas said.

Many of the events that have been submitted may not require any additional costs.

“The submission of events will allow us to coordinate a master schedule to include as many programs as possible and avoid duplication of programs by encouraging organizations to co-program and collaborate on events,” Bringas said.

Most of the departments submitting events have already secured funding or have a strategy in place to secure additional funds, especially if it is a new program or idea, Bringas said.

By extending welcome days, the committee hopes to provide more opportunities for involvement to encourage students to feel connected to campus life early on in the semester and provide more opportunities for involvement, Bringas said.

New Student Welcome Days started in 1979, Orientation Assistant Director Chris Porterfield said. Although Porterfield said they do not keep an exact record of attending freshmen, he said he believes most freshmen attend or are involved in some of the activities during the course of the event.