Welcome Weekend Gives New Students a Road Map to Success

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Welcome Weekend, planned for Thursday, Aug. 19, through Sunday, Aug. 22, is a program designed by the Office of Student Affairs to provide incoming freshmen with their road map to start their college experience moving in the right direction. Classes for the fall 2010 semester begin Monday, Aug. 23.

From 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, new students will be moving into the residence halls and they will have help. Sophomore, junior and senior students have been selected as Freshmen Counselors and attended camp at Jackson's Mill this week to be trained as mentors to guide freshmen through the first few weeks of school. Freshmen Counselors assist students and their families by helping them carry their boxes to their rooms and answering any questions they have. A tradition that dates back more than 30 years, the Freshmen Counselors program forges life-long friendships and provides leadership skills that prepare students for future careers.

Jane Ryan, coordinator of Welcome Weekend, a former Freshman Counselor and former Student Government vice president, knows firsthand about the benefits of the program.

"The Freshmen Counselors program really connects the students together. It gives the freshmen a sense of belonging, and it creates friendships with all the upperclassmen that you wouldn't get otherwise," Ryan said.

"FSU is of the only schools in the country where students move the freshmen in.

Parents are so happy about it. When I was there, I got so many thank yous. Parents didn't know what to do. They said, 'You mean we don't have to do anything?' It was great."

This year marks the third year as a Freshman Counselor for Amira Umpunhour, a psychology major from Elkins.

"I just like helping people. It makes the freshmen feel like they're welcome. I was a sophomore my first year here. I remember we pulled up and my grandma goes, 'I don't know how we're going to get all this stuff in here,' and the counselors all came out. Within five minutes all the stuff was out of the car and in my room. It was a big help," she said.

Michael Belmear, Vice President for Student Affairs, said Welcome Weekend also helps parents or families of first-time students with the transition. A parent information session is planned for 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, in Colebank Hall.

"Parents need to stay involved and encourage their sons or daughters to get involved. Research has shown that feeling connected to a college or university environment makes a positive impact on students' college success. Students benefit from participating in activities outside the classroom," Belmear said.

A Residence Life Block Party is planned for 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, to give the new students a chance to get to know each other.

FSU President Tom Krepel and Pierpont Community & Technical College President Doreen Larson will greet all new students during a general meeting to be held in Falcon Center Gym 1 at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 20.

Working with the Freshman Counselors, students will attend classroom sessions where they will learn about how to navigate the FSU and Pierpont web sites to find information they need, how to check their campus e-mail, how to talk to faculty members and where to find help such as tutoring and career counseling or personal counseling.

At 1:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, new students will have an opportunity to meet the faculty in the academic area for their major. A special session is planned for students who are undecided about their major. At 5 p.m., there will be a picnic for students and faculty in the front lawn of the Falcon Center. Events in the evening will feature Playfair activities and Intramural sports.

Saturday, Aug. 21, features a Community Expo in the Main Street area of the Falcon Center with information booths highlighting the businesses, services and recreation opportunities available to students in Marion County. A brunch is planned for 11 a.m. in the Falcon Center third floor Dining Hall. Activities for the day also include the Monster College Advantage, ice breakers and activities, keynote speaker Summer Rayne Oakes and hypnotist Tom DeLuca.

On Sunday, Aug. 22, a brunch is planned for 11 a.m. in the Falcon Center third floor Dining Hall. At 1 p.m., the Ruth Ann Musick Library is hosting an open house with food, live music and a prize giveaway.

For more information about Welcome Weekend, call (304) 367-4215. To view a video about the Freshmen Counselors program, visit the Fairmont State Media Channel on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/FairmontStateMedia#p/u/28/pUR_gaq0too.


Freshmen Counselors help freshmen and their families move in to their residence halls.