Welcome Week spirit just keeps growing

Silent Disco is one of many popular -- and rather exuberant -- events during Welcome Week. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

Welcome Week at Grand Canyon University has continued its transformation from a burst of move-in excitement to a sustained bonanza with added events from more University departments throughout a 10-day period, Aug. 29 to Sept. 7.

One visible difference will be a large, centrally located plaza of information, treats and fun called Pop-Ups on the Promenade, where more than 30 campus departments will line up from the Student Union to Building 16 to welcome students from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Welcome Programs Manager Alden Sia leads logistics of Welcome Week 2022.

Another will be a roaming band of 600 student enthusiasm-injectors, also known as the Welcome Crew, to direct traffic, cheer and welcome new students by name and make them feel at home. Since transitioning to move-in by appointment during the pandemic, the crew was created to sustain the excitement once central to the mass move-in.

They are part of the nearly 1,800 volunteers, which also include the Student Affairs team and student leaders, all led by Welcome Programs to help new students feel welcome in a big way and excite returning students for the new year.

“As our department has framed Welcome Week as more than just move-in, each year we see more departments wanting to be involved, host an event and get in front of students,” said Alden Sia, Welcome Programs Manager.

“We want the schedule to be packed. We want them to take advantage of the time parents are here and students are learning where everything is.”

The schedule is packed with more events than ever throughout the day across the growing campus, which will welcome a record number of new students, approximately 9,700.

Each day features a large evening event, such as Friday night’s Lope-A-Palooza, a raucous pep rally in GCU Arena that this year will spill out into the Quad with athletes to meet and treats to eat.

A new evening event this year is First Monday, when students will be on the Quad selling their creations and items from their businesses.

“We wanted to give students the opportunity to interact more, and we have seen that students love student markets," Sia said. "They bring cookies, clothes or bracelets they make. It’s an opportunity for students to show their passion.”

Lope-a-Palooza always draws a big crowd ... and plenty of spirit. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

Popular events such as Silent Disco on Wednesday, Aug. 31, and Ignite on Sept. 6 are also sure to bring the crowds.

But there are smaller events that are new to the week.

Stage Connect, or “speed friending,” is a variation of something tried during COVID times, when everyone had to stay 6 feet apart. It has been reimagined for this year, and new students can meet large numbers of people at Juniper Field in rapid-fire introductions in the fashion of speed dating.

There are more socials throughout the week to help students find their niche, including socials or meetups for out-of-state students, first-generation students, transfer students, Fostering Futures students, Honors College students or those with disabilities.

Two more events uniquely GCU will feature the Lord and longboards. New is Faith in Your First Year, and returning for the second year is Shreducation, or how to ride a longboard from Lux.

Also, Club Sports and Intramurals will have more events this year, joining a popular event that returns after attracting a crowd last year – Sunrise Yoga.

A vital part of the week is how to ease students’ transition to college.

The Ignite worship service evoked so much emotion last year, students rushed the stage. (Photo by Ralph Freso)

“It is not all rainbows and sunshine. They hit a honeymoon phase during Welcome Week. We want to make sure we give them tools to keep that going, rather than a high on Welcome Week and crashing,” said Sia, whose team did a lot of research over the year on the ups and downs of the first year in college.

Parents and their student will join in an orientation session and then break into separate groups to learn how to recognize those moments, while a new aspect will be an additional session for siblings of the student.

“At the end of the day, we want to create realistic expectations,” Sia said. “It gives them the tools to be successful.”

Welcome Week wraps up on a high note after Labor Day with the emotional Ignite worship service on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and the Club and Community Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 7, in the Canyon Activity Center, where students can find dozens of ways to connect on campus.

“Welcome Week sets the tone for the upcoming academic year,” Sia said. “GCU has always valued community in the highest degree, and Welcome Week is the perfect way to start off on the right note."

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.


Welcome Week schedule


Aug. 29-Sept. 2: Student appointment Move-In, 6 a.m.-4 p.m.  Aug. 29-Sept. 1 and 6 a.m.-noon Sept. 2.

Aug 29-Sept. 2: Pop-ups on the Promenade, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Students connect with Welcome Programs, Spiritual Life, student job opportunities, the Havocs and more.

Aug. 29-Sept. 2: Campus tours, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Aug. 29-31: ASGCU mobile tabling, around The Grove, 1-3 p.m. Hosted by ASGCU.

Aug. 29-Sept. 2: Welcome session, 4-5 p.m., GCU Arena (Monday to Wednesday), Antelope Gym (Thursday-Friday)

Aug. 29-Sept. 2: Orientation para padres y familias, 5:15-7 p.m., Building 33, Rooms 104-106.

Aug. 29-Sept. 2: Parent and Family orientation, 5:15-7 p.m., GCU Arena (Monday-Tuesday) and Antelope Gym (Wednesday to Friday)

Aug. 29-Sept. 2: Orientation groups, 5:15-8 p.m., Prescott Field and Quad

Aug. 29-Sept. 2: High School Sibling Experience, 5:15-7 p.m., Thunderground Lounge


GCU Army ROTC New Cadet orientation 6:30-11:30 a.m., Colter Field.

Club Sports Experience (tennis, roller hockey, spike ball), noon-5 p.m., rink, tennis court and Canyon Activity Center Lawn

Canyon Cool Down is a wet, wild ride for students.

The Commuter Scoop: The Honors College Social, 1-3 p.m., Technology Building, Room 131

GCU Army ROTC New Cadet Orientation, 1-7 p.m., Building 22, Rooms 101/102

Institute for Workforce Development orientation, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Engineering Building, Room 203

Adult learner social, 5:15-7 p.m., Commuter Lounge

First Monday, 9-11 p.m., Quad. GCU’s version of a farmers’ market. Student vendors selling items.

Stage Connect (speed friending), 8-9 p.m., Juniper field


GCU Army ROTC New Cadet Orientation, 5:30-8 a.m., Colter Field, and 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Building 22, Rooms 101-102

Faith in Your First Year, 2-3 p.m., Sunset Auditorium

Out-of-state student social, 3-4 p.m., Thunderground Lounge

Project L, 8-11 p.m. by the CAC. A roller-skating icebreaker event by the Diversity and Inclusion Department.


Club Sports Experience: Lacrosse and Soccer, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Juniper Field; aquatics, noon-5 p.m., Antelope/Rivers pools; beach volleyball, noon-5 p.m., Juniper Field

Faith in Your First Year, 2-3 p.m., Sunset Auditorium

Transfer student social, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Thunderground. Hosted by ASGCU.

ASGCU open house, 4-8 p.m., Student Life Building ASGCU Lounge

Intramural sports activity, 7:30-10:30 p.m., Sand Courts, Canyon Turf Field, Grove Pool

Silent Disco, 8-11 p.m., GCU Arena


ASGCU mobile tabling, 1:30 p.m., around the Grove. Hosted by ASGCU.

Club Sports Experience for baseball, softball and disc golf, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Colter Field; for soccer, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Practice Soccer Field; noon-5 p.m., Canyon Activity Center.

Student Disability Services info session, 9:30-10:30 a.m., Natural Sciences Building, rooms 136 and 140

Brunch with the Honors College, 10-11:30 a.m., Tech Building Lawn

Engineering new student meet and greet, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Quad

Hiring event, 1-4 p.m., Natural Sciences Building, Rooms 136 and 140

Faith in Your First Year, 2-3 p.m., Sunset Auditorium

First gen social, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Sunset Auditorium

Suite Life of GCU, 5-7 p.m., Grove Lawn. Hosted by ASGCU.

Welcome Back at the CAC, 5-7 p.m., CAC

Canyon Cool Down, 8-11 p.m., Colter Field


Sunrise Yoga, 7-8 a.m., Prescott Field

Fostering Futures social, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Building 4, Room 111

Diversity and Inclusion Department open house, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Kaibab. Drop in to visit the Inclusion Lounge.

LLC Social, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Thunderground lounge

First gen seminar, noon-1:30 p.m., Sunset Auditorium

CCSC orientation, 1-2 p.m., Antelope gym

ASGCU mobile tabling, 1:30 p.m., around the Grove. Hosted by ASGCU.

Faith in Your First Year, 2-3 p.m., Sunset Auditorium

ACE Social, 2-4 p.m., Student Union GCBC

Community gatherings, 2:30-3:30 p.m., incoming living areas (lobbies/floors)

Women’s volleyball vs. Idaho, 7 p.m., GCU Arena

Lope-A-Palooza, after the women’s volleyball match, GCU Arena


The Ultimate Lope Venture, 7-9 a.m., Agave Lawn

New international student orientation, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Building 4, Room 111

Honors orientation, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Antelope gym

CCSC Freshman and Sophomore Meet-and-Greet, noon-4 p.m., CAC Courtyard, courts 7-10

Honors elective sessions, 1-5 p.m., Technology Building

Shreducation, 6:30-8:30 p.m., GCU Skate Park

Cantelopes Improv, 7-7:45 p.m., College of Arts and Media, Room 100


Ignite, 7-10 p.m., GCU Arena/Quad


Club and Community Fair, 5-8 p.m., Canyon Activity Center. Hosted by ASGCU.


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GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

David said to Michal, "It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when He appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel — I will celebrate before the Lord. (2 Samuel 6:21)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/