Concert, bigger crews to whirl into Welcome Week 2023

Students showed their dance moves during one of Welcome Week's most popular events, Silent Disco, at GCU Arena in 2022.

A Labor Day concert in GCU Arena highlights the new offerings for Welcome Week 2023 that runs Aug. 28-Sept. 6 on Grand Canyon University’s campus.

Jordy Searcy, a singer-songwriter with spiritual leanings and a 2014 contestant on “The Voice,” will perform for the 7 p.m. ticketed show ($10 for students) at GCU Arena.

“We used to have a Welcome Week concert, and students have asked us to bring it back,” said Alden Sia, Welcome Programs Manager. “We hope that it will grow and bring artists that students know and love and become a Welcome Week staple.”

Another initiative continues the evolution of Welcome Week from prior years. Those frenzied express Move-Ins, which featured hundreds of students cheering and mobbing vehicles of students and families to help them unload, are no less spirited but are now organized by appointment.

Parents and students have said they love the appointments because of less waiting time. Vehicles can be in and out of campus in 45 minutes or less.

To maintain the excitement, a student Welcome Crew is stationed throughout campus to cheer and aid in the process of directing traffic and finding buildings. This year, the number of students involved in Welcome Crew has nearly doubled to 750.

The larger number of volunteers also helps to keep the spirit up across the growing campus, which this year will have as many students moving into the east side with the addition of two more apartment complexes, Santa Cruz and Copper.

The Welcome Crew, greeting a student last year, will nearly double in size.

Another expansion also should ease the transition week for students.

This year, 120 student orientation leaders' positions are scholarship positions. Those leaders will train for two weeks before Welcome Week.

“Each leader will serve multiple days for groups of 12-18 students and take them through finding resources and what it’s like to be a college student,” Sia said.

It will allow for more breakout sessions within daily orientations with trained students who can be more thorough.

“They apply for this position, they asked to do and want to do it. They have buy-in and care about the student experience,” Sia said.

Another schedule tweak includes simultaneous or overlapping evening events with student leaders freed up for them by having a larger Welcome Crew. Every night features at least two events, sometimes three.

For example, on Tuesday, Aug. 29, students have the option of working up a sweat dancing at Project L or taking in a cooler, quieter Movie in the Arena, or playing at Welcome Back at the CAC, which this year will stay open until 11:30 p.m. for free time after the event concludes at 9 p.m.

Welcome Programs Marketing and Communication Coordinator Garrett Abeyta says it will help spread out the crowds and lower wait times.

Other new events include: A virtual clubs workshop, which helps to answer more general but detailed questions about clubs, so students can attend the large Club and Community Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 6, with more knowledge as they sample all the offerings; additional Intramural Nights to play sand volleyball, kickball or basketball; and a Global Outreach open house.

Students escaped the heat of Welcome Week in 2022 on a water slide at Canyon Cool Down.

The most popular events will continue, such as the Canyon Activities Board’s Silent Disco (dancing with music heard only through issued headphones) and Canyon Cool Down (wet fun on Colter Field).

“Silent Disco is really big. It just keeps growing every year,” Sia said.

Friday night’s high-spirited pep rally called Lope-A-Palooza always brings a big crowd to GCU Arena, while Ignite worship night on Tuesday, Sept. 5, allows students to partake in an additional outlet of spirit.

Sia expects to see as many for 2023 Move-In as last year’s record of more than 9,000, although up to 2,500 leaders will be moving in prior to Welcome Week.

Not to bury the lead, but yes, there will again be the popular temporary tattoos (including the President Brian Mueller tattoo) among the GCU swag offerings.

Information and events are also available on Welcome Programs' new website gcuwelcome.org.

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected].

Welcome Week schedule of events
Daily events
Appointment Move-In: 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 6 a.m.-noon Friday
Pop-Ups on the Promenade: 10 a.m.-noon Monday-Friday, Student Union Promenade
Faith in Your First Year: 1 and 2 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday, Prayer Chapel
Welcome session: 4-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 1-2 p.m. Friday, GCU Arena
Parent and family orientation: 5-6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 2-3:30 p.m. Friday, GCU Arena
Orientacion para padres y familias: 5-6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 2-3:30 p.m. Friday, Technology Building, Room 130
Orientation groups: 5-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 2-5 p.m. Friday, campuswide
High School Sibling Experience: 5:15-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 2:15-4 p.m. Friday, Thunderground
Life leader open door: times vary, check floors' bulletin boards
Monday, Aug. 28
GCU Trades orientation: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., West Lecture Halls, Rooms 103 and 104
Club Sports Experience: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Colter Field, Canyon Activity Center Skate Park
GCU Army ROTC new cadet orientation, Day 1: 12:30-3 p.m., Thunderground
International Buddy Program welcome party: 2-3 p.m., Thunderground
Clubs workshop (virtual): 4-5 p.m., Zoom 91064105251
Speedfriending: 8-9:30 p.m., Colter Field
Canyon Activities Board's First Monday: 8-10 p.m., Prescott Field
Tuesday, Aug. 29
GCU Army ROTC new cadet orientation, Day 2: 6-10 a.m., Colter Field
Club Sports Experience (lacrosse, soccer, flag football): 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Juniper Field and CAC
GCU Army ROTC new cadet orientation reserve event: 1-2:30 p.m., West Lecture Halls, Room 101
Out-of-state social: 2:30-3:30 p.m., Thunderground
Project L: 7-10 p.m., Prescott Field
Welcome Back at the CAC: 7-9 p.m. (CAC open until 11:30 p.m.), Canyon Activity Center
Movie in the Arena, 8 p.m., GCU Arena
Wednesday, Aug. 30
GCU Army ROTC new cadet orientation, Day 3: 6-10, 10 a.m.-noon, Colter Field and West Lecture Halls, Rooms 101, 102, 103, 104
Club Sports Experience: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Antelope Pool and CAC
Cyber Center of Excellence open house: Noon-3 p.m., Technology Building, Room 331
Commuter Chat and Chill: 2:30-3:30 p.m., GCU Arena concourse
Associated Students of GCU transfer student social: 2:30-3:30 p.m., Thunderground
Honors commuter social: 2:30-3:30 p.m., Honors Lounge in the Technology Building, room 324
ASGCU open house: 3:30-7 p.m., Student Life Building, room 106
Clubs workshop (virtual): 4-5 p.m., Zoom 92540475330
College of Arts and Media open house: 4-7 p.m., College of Arts and Media Building, Ethington Theatre
Adult learner social: 5-6:30 p.m., Commuter Lounge
Intramural Nights (kickball): 6-11 p.m., Colter Field
Canyon Activities Board Silent Disco: 8-11 p.m., GCU Arena
Thursday, Aug. 31
Club Sports Experience: 8:30-11:30 a.m., Colter Field
Brunch with the Honors Bunch: 9:30-11 a.m., Technology Building lawn
Engineering freshmen meet and greet: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Engineering Building, Rooms 121, 123 and courtyard
First gen social: 2:30-3:30 p.m., Thunderground
Sweet Life of ASGCU: 5-7 p.m., Grove Lawn
Women’s soccer game vs. UT-San Antonio: 7 p.m., GCU Soccer Stadium
Intramural Nights (3-on-3 basketball): 6-11 p.m., CAC
CAB Canyon Cool Down: 8-11 p.m., Colter Field
Friday, Sept. 1
Sunrise Yoga: 6:30-9 a.m., Prescott Field
VR Lab open house: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., VR Lab in the Technology Building, Room 120
Fostering Futures Scholarship Luncheon: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Student Advising Services Center Building (ARC Presentation Room)
Club Sports Experience: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Colter Field
Forensic science majors meet and greet: Noon-2 p.m., Natural Sciences Building, Room 104
Multicultural Office open house: Noon-2 p.m., Multicultural Lounge in Kaibab
Honors Early Access Pass: 1-4 p.m., Technology Building (several classrooms)
ACE social: 2-4 p.m., GCBC (Rivers)
Clubs workshop (virtual): 4-5 p.m. Zoom 93072935639
Residence Life first community gathering: 5-6 p.m., all living areas
Intramural Nights (sand volleyball): 6-11 p.m., Beach Volleyball Court
GCU volleyball vs. Long Island: 7 p.m., GCU Arena
Lope-A-Palooza, 8:30 p.m., GCU Arena
Saturday, Sept. 2
The Ultimate LopeVenture, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Student Union Promenade
Honors orientation, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Lope Performance Center
New international student orientation: 1-4 p.m., Building 4, Room 111
Sunday, Sept. 3
Women’s soccer vs. University of Oregon: 1 p.m., GCU Soccer Stadium
Monday, Sept. 4
Jordy Searcy concert, 7 p.m., GCU Arena
Tuesday, Sept. 5
Ignite worship night: 6-10 p.m., Quad
Wednesday, Sept. 6
Club and Community Fair, 5-8 p.m., CAC

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GCU Magazine

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