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New school year kicks off with Week of Welcome

Students visit an information booth during an all campus picnic event.
Students enjoy the All Campus Picnic on the WSU Pullman campus, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019.

Washington State University Pullman is set to officially welcome new students to campus during its annual Week of Welcome Aug. 14-22.

Presented by BECU, WOW includes a student resource fair, pep rally, and photo session for new students on Aug. 18; academic college kickoffs on Aug. 19; and the university convocation and barbecue for new Cougs on Aug. 20. There are events planned every day of the week to help students get acquainted with campus and meet fellow Cougs.

Event times, locations, and descriptions, as well as a complete list of activities for each campus, can be found on Coug Presence.

“The students I’ve talked with are so excited about coming to campus,” said Matthew Jeffries, director of the Gender/Identity Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC). “These events will help connect them with important resources and kick off the school year right.”

Including second-year Cougs

Because second-year students were unable to participate in many activities that comprise a typical first-year Cougar experience, WOW includes events designed just for them.

There will be a second-year social and class photo on Aug. 20 at the Valley Road Playfields, and GIESORC is hosting a special Q*HORT orientation session for second-year and transfer LGBTQ+ students on Aug. 19.

“It will differ from Q*HORT for first-year students in that this will have breakout sessions on career services, internships, and study abroad, with an emphasis on how to navigate these areas as an LGBTQ+ student,” Jeffries said.

Closeup of Isabelle Busch
Isabelle Busch

Sophomore Isabelle Busch, who will join School of Music Associate Professor Melissa Parkhurst as a keynote speaker during university convocation, believes the activities for second-year students will help relieve any anxiety they may have about being on campus for the first time.

“I joke that I am a sophomore, but when I get to campus for Week of Welcome, I’m going to feel like a freshman,” said Busch, a Spokane native majoring in biological sciences. “It’s really cool that the university is doing things for second-year Cougs so we feel included.”

Time to look forward

After a year of isolation for many students, Busch said one of the most important messages she will share in her speech is that students should reach out to one another and form new friendships at events like WOW.

Whether students attend University Recreation’s block party, participate in free fitness classes throughout the week, test their game skills at the Residence Hall Association’s Price is Right, or tour the Compton Union Building’s affinity centers during Conexion, WOW will help them feel welcomed into the Cougar family.

“We are emerging from a long, dark tunnel created by the pandemic,” Busch said. “Now is the time for all of us to look forward, try new things, and become engaged members of the Cougar community by taking advantage of all the opportunities WSU offers.”

Events across the system

Every year, new students on the Pullman campus gather during Week of Welcome to take a class photo in Martin Stadium.

Other WSU campuses are also hosting events to welcome back students. The Office of Student Engagement and Leadership on the Tri-Cities campus will host a Welcome Back Open House on Aug. 18, while WSU Vancouver will have its Back to School BBQ on Aug. 25 on the Quad.

WSU’s Global campus is hosting a Virtual Week of Welcome that includes game nights, swag giveaways, a comedy show, and a dance party.

New pharmacy and medical students at WSU Spokane will participate in white coat ceremonies on Aug. 20, a longstanding tradition where they receive a white lab coat signifying their entry into the professional ranks. A first-day breakfast grab & go, an involvement fair, and a taco lunch are among the activities students on the Everett campus will be able to enjoy during the first week of classes.

Events for most campuses can be found on Coug Presence by clicking on the “Campuses” link at the top of the page.

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