Welcome Weekend Helps New Students "Stay in the Game"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Welcome Weekend for new students at Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College begins today, Aug. 18. The program is designed to provide incoming freshmen with the information they need to start their college experience moving in the right direction. Classes for the fall 2011 semester begin Monday, Aug. 22.

The Office of Student Affairs has organized a number of events for students with the theme “Stay in the Game.” Welcome Weekend, scheduled for today, Aug. 18, through Sunday, Aug. 21, includes activities to acclimate both incoming freshmen and their families to campus life. Families will be assisted by current students and staff as they move belongings into the residence halls. 

Classroom sessions will provide new students with the contacts they will need for potential tutoring, career counseling and academic advising. Plus, there will be an abundance of information to engage students in Student Government and social event opportunities on campus.

Meagan Gibson serves as Student Government President for FSU and Pierpont. 

“Joining Student Government or any organization is good for the students. They can meet new people and find what their interests are in life from politics to education to community service,” she said. 

The Lordstown, Ohio native added that participation in Welcome Weekend can “help define a student’s niche in life.”

Throughout the weekend, student peer counselors called Freshman Counselors serve as trained mentors to guide freshmen through the first few weeks of school.

Laurie Johnston, Director of Student Activities, said volunteer efforts from peer counselors are to credit for the success of Welcome Weekend for the past two decades. 

“These exceptional upper classmen peer counselors bring their own memories and challenges of their freshmen year experiences to play as they welcome the new students to campus each year,” Johnston said. “While we do have professional staff working with the freshmen throughout the four days before school begins, it truly is the guidance, new friendship, advice and leadership that the freshmen counselors provide to the freshmen that make the beginning of the first year experience at FSU and Pierpont so unique.”

Today, Aug 18, from 2:30 to 6 p.m.,students will move into Pence Hall, Prichard Hall, Morrow Hall and Bryant Place. The first day of Welcome Weekend 2011 also will include a parents’ information meeting at 6 p.m. in Colebank Hall Gym. At 7:30 p.m., there will be a general meeting for freshmen in Colebank Hall Gym, where students can register for prizes to be given away on Sunday, Aug. 21. A Residence Life Block Party is planned for 8 to 11 p.m. tonight, Aug. 18.

“The Welcome Weekend activities are not only fun, but are meant to help our students get off on the right foot,” said Dr. Doreen Larson, President of Pierpont Community & Technical College. “Part of a college education is the opportunity to meet new people. Welcome Weekend provides many events for students of all ages, from all parts of the world, and with all kinds of interests to socialize and learn from each other along with learning from our talented faculty and staff.”

At 9 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 19, faculty, staff and administrators will participate in a traditional convocation ceremony to officially begin the academic journey of higher education for all new students entering FSU and Pierpont. 

Dr. Maria Rose, Fairmont State University Interim President, said the ceremony is a perfect opportunity to make a lasting impression on new students. 

“Convocation is not only a ceremony to formally welcome new students to campus, it is also an opportunity to inspire and motivate them with the significance of the academic journey they are beginning. When new students see faculty and administrators participate in the processional in their academic regalia, they have an impression of the grand tradition of higher education,” Rose said.

The Convocation will be followed by a general meeting and classroom sessions. Students will be grouped with their peer Freshman Counselors for tips on how to “Stay in the Game.” They will learn how to navigate the FSU and Pierpont web sites and technology tools and where to find student services such as tutoring, career counseling, personal counseling and advising.

From 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19, students will visit academic department open houses and meet faculty and staff. The evening will feature a picnic for students and faculty, a Playfair Icebreaker and Intramural Games at the Falcon Center.

The schedule for Saturday, Aug. 20, includes a 1 p.m. general meeting in Colebank Gym, Monster College Advantage, school pride showcases, a sexual assault prevention program, a hypnotist performance and a music video dance party.

On Sunday, Aug. 21, an International Student Orientation is planned for 10 a.m. in Wallman Hall. Another event at 1 p.m, e-palooza@ the Library, will give students an opportunity to enjoy food, live music and meet the staff of the Ruth Ann Musick Library.

For a complete Welcome Weekend schedule, visit http://www.fairmontstate.edu/studentaffairs/welcome-weekend or http://www.pierpont.edu/studentaffairs/welcome-weekend.