Welcome Week to ‘focus’ on building relationships

Welcome week will encourage a spirit of community for incoming students| Graphic by Courtney Brown

The Union phrase “Focus couple” will be politically incorrect starting next school year.

Starting with the class of 2019, Focus week will become Welcome Week, a common name used by many universities.

Jared Dauenhauer, assistant director of student leadership and engagement, explained that the reason for the change was to further distinguish summer orientation from fall activities.

Welcome Week will encourage a spirit of community for incoming students| Graphic by Courtney Brown

The information-oriented events will now take place during summer orientation, while Welcome Week will encourage the communal aspect of Union.

By moving some informational meetings from previous focus weeks to summer orientation, the office of student life has creative space to adapt Welcome Week to meet students’ needs.

While most of the major changes for the week occurred during last fall’s focus, Welcome Week will add elements of “relationship building and hospitality,” according to Dauenhauer.

Events like Lest We Forget and the spirit rally, traditions that began this school year, will carry into the updated orientation week for incoming students.

The new program is being rebooted with a new website that details plans for both orientation and welcome week.

Incoming freshmen can expect to feel connected to the university from their first deposit to summer orientation and then to welcome week.

Instrumental in helping build relationships are Welcome Week leaders. Future Welcome Week leaders will apply with the same process as used with Focus.

“Nothing has changed in recruiting and the types of leaders we’re looking for,” Dauenhauer said.

Chelsea Johnson, junior engineering major, believes the changes will help “give students more independence.”

As a previous Focus leader and a prospect for a Welcome Week leader, Johnson thinks the leaders will give incoming students a sense of belonging by seeing a diverse group of people.

According to Dauenhauer, Focus had lost its meaning. The name change came out of a need for “getting our language right.”

“When you come for the first time you don’t want to be oriented, you want to be welcomed,” Dauenhauer said.

Image courtesy of Courtney Brown|Cardinal & Cream
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Class of 2015. Advertising. Writer.