Events, new programs welcome students to campus

Weeks of Welcome, a six-week stretch of events for new and returning students, begins Aug. 18.

Parade of students in VCU gear.
Weeks of Welcome will encompass more than 100 student events from Aug. 18-Sept. 28. (File photo)

When new and returning Virginia Commonwealth University students arrive on campus for the fall semester they will notice some changes to the university calendar, beginning with a six-week stretch of programs and events welcoming them to VCU.

Weeks of Welcome will begin Sunday, Aug. 18, and run through Saturday, Sept. 28.

The change from the previous Welcome Week model to a six-week time frame will help students transition to campus life. The extended time period was first identified by Vincent Tinto, Ph.D., in his 1987 book “Leaving College,” which focused on student retention and actions that schools can take to reduce attrition.

“We know that the first six weeks for new students transitioning to VCU are critical to their campus adjustment,” said Charles Klink, Ph.D., senior vice provost for student affairs. “Our change in programming creates more sustained opportunities for student engagement and familiarization with campus resources.

“We hope Weeks of Welcome will be instrumental in creating a sense of belonging for new students and encouraging returning students to renew campus connections,” Klink said. “It will also encourage new students to become connected to the campus community.”

There will be more than 100 events, and new programs and activities will be added to the Weeks of Welcome Guidebook on a regular basis. Traditional programming that has occurred before the start of classes will still take place, such as the Ram Spirit WalkHouse CallsLibrary Fest and Rec Sports Night.

“We [also] will have students on campus before the official start of Weeks of Welcome for programs such as RAM CAMP, move in and an event on the MCV Campus for professional students,” said David Greene, director of University Student Commons and Activities and one of the committee members who helped spearhead the change.

We know that the first six weeks for new students transitioning to VCU are critical to their campus adjustment. Our change in programming creates more sustained opportunities for student engagement and familiarization with campus resources.

In addition to the changes to Welcome Week, Family Weekend will move from November to Oct. 4-6. The weekend will continue to be an opportunity for parents and family members to experience their student’s campus life, meet their friends, connect with other families and enjoy the VCU and Richmond communities.

“When Weeks of Welcome concludes, we wanted to make sure that the programming for our students didn’t stop there,” Greene said. “There was a natural fit in having a one-week break leading into Family Weekend.”

In addition to those date changes, students will now receive a full week off for fall break, which will coincide with the Thanksgiving holiday. The fall break for this academic year will be Nov. 25 to Dec. 1.

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