User’s guide to Welcome Week: All hands on deck

August 09, 2017 / by / 1 Comment
REVIEW OVERVIEW
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Arriving students are warmly greeted as they return to campus for Welcome Week.

By Karen Fernau
GCU News Bureau

Welcome Week works.

The annual tradition of welcoming new and returning students to campus is one of the highlights of the year at Grand Canyon University, but it’s also a critical component in getting acclimated to college life.

Just ask senior Kelsey Wood.

The smiles are abundant during Welcome Week, even when students get up at dawn to help with Move-In.

“I came as a transfer student who didn’t know anyone. It was very scary. The week activities and all the help I got moving into my dorm room really made me feel a part of GCU from day one,” said Wood, a biology major from Oregon.

The friends she made during the week remain her closest friends on campus.

“The week really made a difference,” Wood said. “Without it, I might have just sat in my room until classes started.”

When Welcome Week 2017 begins on Monday, Aug. 21, there will be a jam-packed schedule of activities to help students navigate campus, learn study habits, make friends, strengthen their faith and jumpstart their school spirit.

Nearly 2,000 volunteers – 1,000 students, 800 student leaders and 200 staff – make it all happen.

There are the traditional favorites, such as the Ignite ceremony.

There are the relatively new ideas, such as Lope-A-Palooza.

And there’s a wide range of other activities, from residence hall get-togethers and a dodgeball tournament to movies and dances.

“The week is all about giving new students a sense of belonging and direction while welcoming back returning students. The week says to all, ‘You belong here,’” said Charity Norman, manager of GCU’s Student and Family Program.

Students come together in prayer for the Ignite ceremony.

The week coincides with nearly 11,000 students moving into residence halls. Along with helping students physically move into their rooms, Residence Life also aims to make students, especially freshmen, feel right at home.

As Matt Hopkins, Director of Residence Life, explained, “Freshmen are undergoing a number of changes as they transition to college – responsibilities, relationships with family, change in social network, daily schedule, academic rigor and sharing a bedroom, perhaps for the first time.”

One of the week’s signature events is the First 72 Experience, an initiative between Residence Life and Spiritual Life begun last year to bolster unity and friendship among freshmen in their new homes.

The three-day hugfest includes low-key hangout times, pizza, board games, get-to-know-you activities and campus tours.

“The first three days are critical to feel a sense of welcoming and belonging,” Norman said. “If students are just spending time in their rooms or with their parents, that feeling carries over. We want our students to get off on the right foot.”

For the first time, GCU will extend Welcome Week support with its newly established Lopes Connection Crew.

Crew members will work with students who feel disconnected when the week is over, Norman said.

One of this year’s most anticipated new events is “Party Like It’s 1999” in GCU Arena.

The “1999” theme is aimed at freshmen, the last class to be born in the 1990s, Norman said.

The nostalgic dance will celebrate a decade that produced movies such as “Titanic,” “Jurassic Park” and “Home Alone” and musicians such as Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men. Even the refreshments will be ’90s inspired – Fruit Roll-Ups and Capri Suns.

A few of the week’s other highlights:  

  • Canyon Cool Down: Students beat the heat with an after dark pool and ice cream party.
  • Ignite: In one of the week’s most dramatic events, thousands of students gather to light candles to signify their unity, faith and desire for their light to shine brightly.
  • Lope-A-Palooza: This is a crash course on becoming a Lope. Organized by the Havocs student cheer section and Canyon Activities Board, the event showcases GCU’s energized school spirit and support of all athletic teams.
  • Ultimate Lope Venture: An all-day scavenger hunt that pits teams of 3-6 students against each other. Each team must follow a checklist of things to find, each assigned a point value based on difficulty.

“Welcome Week is a fun time of the year, so festive,” Norman said. “There’s nothing to do but be excited.”

Welcome Week 2017 schedule

Monday, Aug. 21

7 a.m.-4 p.m. — Bed, Bath and Beyond Tent, Kaibab

9 a.m.-4 p.m. — Parent Hospitality Corner, GCBC Student Union

10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Orientation Expo, Student Union

2-3 p.m. — Orientation Expo, GCU Arena

6-7:30 p.m. — Community Gathering, Juniper, Cypress and Acacia halls

8-10 p.m. — Canyon Cool Down, Grove lawn and pool

Tuesday, Aug. 22

7 a.m.-4 p.m. — Bed, Bath and Beyond Tent, Kaibab

9 a.m.-4 p.m. — Parent Hospitality Corner, GCBC Student Union

9 a.m.-noon — Lope Life 101, GCU Arena

9 a.m.-noon — Thrive, Antelope Gym

10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Orientation Expo, Student Union

1-2:30 p.m. — New Student Hall Meetings, Juniper, Cypress and Acacia halls

2-3 p.m. — New Student Orientation, GCU Arena

3-4 p.m. — Out-of-State and International Social, Thunder Alley

6-7:30 p.m. — Community Gathering, Willow and Ironwood halls

8-10 p.m. — Night at the Movies, GCU Arena

Wednesday, Aug. 23

7 a.m.-4 p.m. — Walmart Tent, Kaibab

9 a.m.-4 p.m. — Parent Hospitality Corner, GCBC Student Union

9 a.m.-noon — Lope Life 101, GCU Arena

9 a.m.-noon — Thrive, Antelope Gym

9 a.m.-noon — Keys to Academic Success, STEM Building

10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Orientation Expo, Student Union

1-2:30 p.m. — New Student Hall Meetings, Willow and Ironwood halls

2-3 p.m. — New Student Orientation, GCU Arena

3:30-4:30 p.m. — Commuter Lope Life 101, Building 6, rooms 139 and 140

4:30-5:30 p.m. — Commuter Social, Commuter Lounge

6-7:30 p.m. — Community Gathering, Chaparral and Saguaro halls

8-9:15 p.m. — New Student Worship and Ignite, GCU Arena and Quad

Thursday, Aug. 24

7 a.m.-4 p.m. — Walmart Tent, Kaibab

9 a.m.-4 p.m. — Parent Hospitality Corner, GCBC Student Union

9 a.m.-noon — Lope Life 101, GCU Arena

9 a.m.-noon — Thrive, Antelope Gym

9 a.m.-noon — Keys to Academic Success, STEM Building

10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Orientation Expo, Student Union

11 a.m.-1 p.m. — Honors College Kick-Off, GCU Arena

1-2:30 p.m. — New Student Hall Meetings, Chaparral and Saguaro halls

2-4 p.m. — Campus Tours, depart from the Orientation Expo Entrance

3-4 p.m. — Transfer Student Social, Lopes Performance Center

6-7:30 p.m. — Community Gathering, Ocotillo Hall

7:49 p.m. — Lope-A-Palooza, GCU Arena

Friday, Aug. 25

7 a.m.-4 p.m. — Walmart Tent, Kaibab

9-10 a.m. — Lope Life 101, Antelope Gym

9 a.m.-noon — Keys to Academic Success, STEM Building

9 a.m.-4 p.m. — Parent Hospitality Corner, GCBC Student Union

10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Orientation Expo, Student Union

11 a.m.-noon — Thrive, Antelope Gym

Noon-2 p.m. — Student Worker Job Fair, GCU Arena

1-2:30 p.m. — New Student Hall Meetings, Ocotillo

2-4 p.m. — Campus Tours, depart from the Orientation Expo Entrance

3-4 p.m. — Out-of-State and International Social, Thunder Alley

5-11 p.m. — Dodgeball Tournament, Lopes Performance Center and Antelope Gym

5-11 p.m. — Sand Volleyball Tournament, All Outdoor Courts

8 p.m. — Party Like It’s 1999, GCU Arena

Saturday, Aug. 26

6 a.m. — The Ultimate Lope Venture, check in at Cypress Hall north lawn

7 a.m.-7 p.m. — The Ultimate Lope Venture, various locations

10-11 a.m. — New Student Orientation, GCU Arena

10-11 a.m. — Veteran Student Orientation, North Lecture Hall, Room 104

10-11 a.m. — International Student Orientation, North Lecture Hall, rooms 101 and 102

10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Orientation Expo, Student Union

11 a.m.-1 p.m. — Campus Tours, depart from the Orientation Expo Entrance

11:15 a.m.-noon — Commuter Lope Life 101 with lunch provided, GCU Arena

1:30-4:30 p.m. — Keys to Academic Success, STEM Building

8 p.m. — Glow Party, GCU Arena

Sunday, Aug. 27

7 p.m. — GCU women’s soccer vs. Weber State, GCU Soccer Stadium

Monday, Aug. 28

5-8 p.m. — GCU Club and Community Fair, GCU Arena

Commuter Student Events

Wednesday, Aug. 23

3:30-4:30 p.m. — Commuter Life 101, Building 6, rooms 139 and 140

4:30-5:30 p.m. — Commuter Social, Commuter Lounge

Saturday, Aug. 26

11:15 a.m.-noon — Lope Life 101, GCU Arena

1:30-4:30 p.m. — Keys to Academic Success, STEM Building

College Kickoff Event Schedule

Honors College: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, GCU Arena

Colangelo College of Business: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, GCU Arena

College of Education: 4-5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 7, Antelope Gym

College of Fine Arts and Production: 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., Friday, Sept. 15, First Southern Baptist Church

College of Humanities and Social Sciences: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 13, GCU Arena

College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: 5-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 6, GCU Arena

College of Science, Engineering and Technology: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 8, Antelope Gym

College of Theology: 5-7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 11, GCU Arena

Contact Karen Fernau at (602) 639-8344 or karen.fernau@gcu.edu.


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One Response
  1. Cody

    Looking forward to Welcome Week!

    Aug.10.2017 at 9:52 am
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