Welcome Week kicks off new academic year

Students begin to return to campus, preparing for first day of classes on September 22

Last year, this spirited group of College Nine orientation volunteers greeted new students and their parents during UCSC's Fall Welcome Week festivities. (photo by Carolyn Lagatutta)
Last year, this group of new frosh enjoyed settling into their dorm room during UCSC's Welcome Week. (photo by Jim MacKenzie)

The air is getting colder, people are hauling out their long-sleeved shirts, and the crowds are thinning out on the beaches of Santa Cruz.

And here’s an even more reliable sign that summer is nearly over on the Central Coast: the college students are preparing for their annual migration to UC Santa Cruz.

Welcome Week festivities start Wednesday, September 14. That’s when you’ll start to see empty dorms fill up again as an estimated 3,600 new freshmen start to move onto campus. In addition to those frosh, UCSC will also have 1,200 new fall transfer students, and roughly 350 of them will be moving on to campus this week. (See related story.)

The first days of the move-in will be extremely busy. Students and family members, with help from volunteers, will unload belongings from overstuffed cars, vans and station wagons.

Those who did not get their pictures snapped during Summer Orientation will line up to get a mug-shot for their official ID cards. Students will have their library cards activated, and if they so choose, they could receive immunization shots for Hepatitis B, meningitis, MMR, tetanus/pertussis and other ailments – with all vaccines covered by the UC health insurance plan.

College welcome week festivities will keep students and parents busy. Through this hectic time, student volunteers and UCSC staffers plan to emphasize the spirit of community as the hordes begin to show up on campus.  Kiyoko Freeman, college programs coordinator for Colleges Nine and Ten, said that orientation leaders train extensively for the big week.

The college's orientation leaders arrive on campus several days before Welcome Week begins. “They spend four days getting ready, and on the fifth day, they have to be completely energized," she said. "The first (parents and students) will start showing up at eight a.m., and the volunteers will be starting their day at six a.m.”

Each college on the UCSC campus has a different method of welcoming their people and moving them in, said Rosa Plaza, director of orientation for UCSC.

It’s all part of a campus-wide strategy to make parents and students feel welcome and safe, she said.

Welcome Week is also a chance for students and families to familiarize themselves with the campus, make connections among faculty, staff and other students.

The week kicks off this coming Wednesday, September 14, which is move-in day for all transfer students living in university housing. Thursday, September 15, is move-in day for Stevenson College students. Friday, September 16, will be even busier, with Cowell, Crown, Kresge, Oakes, and Colleges Nine and Ten students all moving in on that day. Activities continue through the weekend. On Saturday, September 17, expect to see students moving in to College Eight, Merrill, Porter, University Town Center and the Village. College academic advising will be available on Sunday, September 18, and Monday, September 19.

Instruction begins for the fall quarter on September 22.