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Western welcomes incoming students during New Student Week 2021

New Student Week continues to acclimate, inform and connect students

Mikayla Coleman | News Editor

Sept. 19 marked the start of Western’s annual New Student Week. While first-years said a tearful goodbye to their pre-college life, the party was just getting started. 

This year’s New Student Week was one different from any other; most years before, the event was primarily for first-years learning the ins and outs of campus life. However, being left to deal with midpandemic reparations, many nontraditional students that have not had their own in person New Student Week found themselves in need of the welcome and acclamation period that it provides going into the 2021-22 school year. 

New Student Week included a variety of different activities, seminars, speakers and social events to make the transition to campus run as smoothly as possible. 

PLUS team co-coordinator and senior ASL English Interpreting major Cheyanne Bumgardner spoke out on how the importance of New Student Week has only increased with the times.

“Coming to college is a huge transition for everyone no matter what their background is or what their story is,” said Bumgardner. “It can be intimidating to come to a new place that’s so unfamiliar.” 

Many students — first-years and others alike — have faced anxiety about reconnecting with the public in person.

“Even for the leadership staff and upperclassmen, being back and seeing people — it’s a huge social adjustment,” Bumgardner said. “We’ve been doing larger events in the gym and out on the turf field where this is the first time I’ve seen a couple hundred people together in almost two years.” 

Safety remained a big focus during the week’s festivities: masks and extra sanitation were required at all New Student Week functions. “We are hoping that this is going to help people remember what that used to be like. We can still be successful and have fun with masks.” Bumgardner said. 

Along with the logistical changes due to COVID-19, there were some new creative additions to the line up this year, including a four hour roller rink held in the Pacific Room. There were also different shows and acts outsourced by the PLUS team including Joseph Green, a diversity speaker, followed by acts from a comedian and magician. 

Some tried and true traditions also made their appearance this year, such as the “W” photo taken in the gymnasium, signing of the sidewalk and New Student Sunrise. 

“The incoming students do a sunrise and the night before their commencement they do a sunset,” said Bumgardner. “It’s like a beginning and an end.” 

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