Block Party, Library Fest, Common Book discussions highlight a busy Welcome Week

Students pose for their class photo at New Student Convocation. (File photo)
Students pose for their class photo at New Student Convocation. (File photo)

More than 4,600 freshmen students will arrive at Virginia Commonwealth University this weekend, the largest incoming class in university history. Saturday is the first day of Welcome Week, a series of events hosted by the Division of Student Affairs that marks the beginning of the university’s academic year. Dozens of events are scheduled from Aug. 18-26.

A glance at a few highlights during Welcome Week:

Common Book discussions

Aug. 20 and 21, starting at 10 a.m., Grace E. Harris Hall, 1015 Floyd Ave., Room 5116

“Tell Me How It Ends,” VCU’s 2018 Common Book, is a moving, empathetic portrayal of child migration to the United States. The book — written by Valeria Luiselli, a novelist, essayist and volunteer interpreter for undocumented migrant children in New York — is distributed to first-year students at New Student Orientation to welcome them to the intellectual culture of VCU. Discussions during Welcome Week offer students an opportunity to share perspectives with members of the VCU and Richmond community. Luiselli will visit VCU in November.

Library Fest

Aug 20, 2-4 p.m., James Branch Cabell Library, 901 Park Ave.

Experience the wonders of Cabell Library, and VCU’s 3-million-piece collection of books, videos, articles and artifacts. Visit the Comic Arts Collection, one of the country’s most impressive and academically significant collections of comic books and comics-related materials. Explore The Workshop, a suite of resources and equipment available to students. Giveaways and refreshments will be provided and prize drawings will take place during the event.

New Student Convocation

Aug. 21, 4-5 p.m., Stuart C. Siegel Center, 1200 W. Broad St.

Convocation, which features remarks from university leaders, including VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., is a formal welcome to the university’s academic community and marks the beginning of VCU’s academic year. Attendees receive a free VCU T-shirt to wear for the class photo and then proceed outside for …

Ram Spirit Walk

Aug. 21, 5:10-5:30 p.m., Stuart C. Siegel Center, 1200 W. Broad St.

VCU cheerleaders and The Peppas (the university pep band) lead new students, in a large crowd of black and gold, on a walk down Harrison Street from the Siegel Center to the University Student Commons. The festive and energetic parade to the center of campus is lined with spectators, including returning students, alumni, faculty and staff, welcoming the newest Rams to VCU.

New VCU students, in a large crowd of black and gold, parade down Harrison St. from the Siegel Center to the University Student Commons at the annual Ram Spirit Walk. (File photo)
New VCU students, in a large crowd of black and gold, parade down Harrison St. from the Siegel Center to the University Student Commons at the annual Ram Spirit Walk. (File photo)

Block Party

Aug. 21, 5:30-8 p.m., University Student Commons (Floyd Avenue between Cherry and Harrison streets)

The final of the three convocation-related events. New students are invited to meet their classmates and listen to music at a block party in the heart of the Monroe Park Campus. Food and refreshments will be provided.

Compass Cookout

Aug. 22, noon to 3 p.m., The Compass (between Cabell Library and Shafer Court Dining Center)

RamTech, VCU's on-campus technology store, hosts this cookout, which features a DJ, free food and the opportunity for students to test and demo new digital equipment. RamTech will provide giveaways and host a prize drawing.

Ride the GRTC Pulse

Aug. 25, noon to 5 p.m., various locations

The GRTC Pulse, the keystone of Richmond’s revamped city bus system, is a 7.6-mile bus rapid transit line along Broad Street. VCU students, faculty and staff ride the Pulse (and all GRTC buses) for free. Explore destinations along the route and learn how to use Richmond’s city bus system.