SRU expands ‘WOW’ experience for new students

Rocky with WoW volunteers

Rocky always finds time to join the WOW volunteer effort and help move students into the residence halls each year.

August 20, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - You might say it's gone from "WOW" to "WHOA!" In recent years, Slippery Rock University's Weekend of Welcome - a program that helps new students move in and get acclimated to the campus community - has evolved into an entire Week of Welcome with improvement and expansion of programs to ensure students are getting the most out of their SRU experience.

"The way the event has evolved, and what makes it great, is that we come together as a community to welcome our new members, whether they are freshman students or transfer students," said David Wilmes, associate provost for student success. "What we are moving toward is, in addition to being this great welcome to our community, also showcasing what we have as a community so the students can take full advantage of what we have to offer. Finding out about opportunities to plan their college career and start off on the right foot."

Included in this year's WOW programming, beginning with first-year student move-in day, Aug. 23, and ending with the Involvement Fair, Sept. 4, are opportunities for students to learn how to set themselves up for success and hear from the dean or director of their respective colleges.

While WOW is new to the more than 1,500 arriving students, the 400 faculty, staff and returning students who volunteer will notice a slight change this year that will make the week even more special and efficient, for all involved.

"The biggest change is we're going to a one-day move-in for freshmen, which means there's more work to be done in that one day but it's going to raise the excitement level with everyone arriving on campus at the same time," said Wilmes, who chairs the WOW committee.

"This allows us to take that second day and really make it more meaningful because there are increased opportunities for interaction between students, faculty and staff than in the past. (The change is) more pragmatic than anything."

Wilmes emphasized that students and their families be punctual and follow their scheduled arrival time, so they don't disrupt families scheduled to arrive in the following hour. Students and their families are able to choose an arrival time between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the "My Housing" online portal. On move-in day, they have the opportunity to unpack, meet their roommates, meet with the community assistant on their floor and enjoy free hot dogs, beverages and cookies. SRU's marching band, the Marching Pride, will be playing at various locations around campus to welcome students and keep everyone's spirits high.

Arriving students and their families are advised to:
-STOP ... in front of their assigned building.
-DROP ... off all belongings. Volunteer staff will be on hand to assist.
-GO ... park the vehicle so that others can begin the move-in process.

Wilmes said students can help assure a seamless move-in by:

-Displaying their designated residence hall "hangtag" on the vehicle's rearview mirror.
-Making sure they have their SRU ID and $20 Association of Residence Hall Students house council fee on hand.
-Being prepared for the weather (extreme heat, rain, etc.).
-Marking all luggage with a label showing name, residence hall and room number.
-Packing belongings in easy to carry totes, boxes or tied off trash bags.
-Bringing a small dolly or cart for moving bulky items.
-Smiling and enjoying the day.

Highlighting the myriad of WOW events is the New Student Convocation at 9 a.m., Aug. 24, in Morrow Field House. This is the only gathering off all students in the Class of 2022 until commencement. Two new events this year include the Honors College Orientation at 1:30 p.m., Aug. 24 in the Smith Student Center Theater; and Success in Your College sessions, at various locations designated by college. At these sessions, students will hear from either the Honors College director or the dean from their respective college and learn about the special opportunities they have in and outside the classroom, such as internships, study abroad or research.

"The success sessions will show students that college is not just about taking classes, but there are ways to get involved and expand on their educational experience," Wilmes said. "The goal of the sessions, and a big part of WOW, is to get students excited about the possibilities at SRU. Some of that is social, but some is academic. If they get excited about a possibility now, they can begin working toward it."

The "social" part that Wilmes mentioned includes scavenger hunts (one by the Office of Community-Engaged Learning, 10 a.m., Aug. 25; and another at Bailey Library, noon, Aug. 26); game shows ("Think Fast," 8 p.m., Aug. 23, Morrow Field House) and other entertainment, like the 8:30 p.m., Aug. 24, Evasons Mentalist Duo in the Smith Student Center Ballroom. Many of the events planned for the week include food and prizes.

The first day of classes, Aug. 27, SRU will have "Ask Me" tents where students can ask for help navigating campus. The tents will be located on the lawn near Vincent Science Center, Weisenfluh Dining Hall and the Smith Student Center.

A complete list of WOW events and other resources to help new students transition to SRU will be posted soon at the following link: click here.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 | justin.zackal@sru.edu