Back-to-school events planned for new and returning students

Contact: Jeanne Baron

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's fall semester formally begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, with the start of 2017-18 classes. But thousands of new and returning students will be on campus before then, settling in for a new semester, attending various events, and patronizing the WMU Bookstore and the Bernhard Center's Bronco Mall.

Photo of three WMU students wearing backpacks.


Early move-in for some select student groups is 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29. Move-in for first-year students attending Fall Welcome starts at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30.

The residence halls officially open for all students at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 1, with students able to move in any time through Monday of Labor Day weekend. Student volunteers, dubbed Bronco Buddies, will be available during much of that time to help both new and returning students move in. Most residence hall students are expected to be settled in their rooms by the end of Saturday. Visit for general move-in information and housing-related maps.

For more housing information, contact Laura Darrah, assistant director of Residence Life, at or (269) 387-4463.

International student orientation

The Haenicke Institute for Global Education will hold its 2017 International Orientation program Monday through Friday, Aug. 28-Sept. 1, in the Bernhard Center. Daily programming runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with attendees taking care of important paperwork, meeting with academic advisors, and learning about campus resources as well as America's social and academic culture. Evening programming includes ice skating, dance parties, pizza eating contests and other social events; a group trip to a local grocery store Monday, Aug. 28; and an optional afternoon excursion to Crossroads Mall Wednesday, Aug. 30.

For more information, visit Direct questions to Wayne Bond at or (269) 387-4853 or Michelle Metro-Roland at (269) 387-3908.

Fall Welcome

Photo of WMU Fall Welcome 2016.

Fall Welcome 2016

Beginning undergraduates will get acclimated to the academic and in early, learn more about the campus and Kalamazoo communities, get grounded in WMU traditions and socialize with fellow students. Fall Welcome activities for 2017 include:

  • A care-package station and lounge open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 29-30, in 105-107 Bernhard Center. It allows parents, families and friends to make a care package for their students, interact with faculty and staff, and enjoy refreshments.
  • Playfair, from 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30, in Waldo Stadium. It is a large icebreaker that brings together about 2,000 students. This year, activities will include participants forming a giant "W" on the field for a class photo.
  • The Matriculation Ceremony, from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, in Miller Auditorium. It welcomes new students to WMU with a formal academic pledge.
  • Buster's Block Party, from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at Fountain Plaza near Miller Auditorium. It features live music, games, a dunk tank and representatives from area restaurants giving out food samples.
  • Buster's Moonlight Stampede, at 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31. It encourages students to gather in front of the Student Recreation Center for a run across the WMU campus.
  • The Tour de Zoo Downtown, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1. It involves picking up students from the Bronco Transit Loading Zone near Rood Hall and bussing them three miles east for an immersive downtown experience.
  • A Challenge Course, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, at Goldsworth Valley Pond. It allows students to participate in hands-on team building challenges.

For a complete Fall Welcome schedule, visit Direct questions to Adrienne Fraaza, Fall Welcome program manager, at or (269) 387–2332.

One Stop Center

A temporary service center will be open at the beginning of the fall semester, offering a smorgasbord of business services in one convenient location. The One Stop Center lets students and their parents take care of last-minute business, such as buying a parking permit, getting information on financial aid and student accounts, and getting assistance with technology questions. In addition, WMU staff from areas such as financial aid and registration will be on hand to answer questions. Patrons also may peruse information tables for Sindecuse Health Center and Office of Family Engagement.

The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, Aug. 30-Sept. 1. It is closed Saturday through Monday in observance of Labor Day, and will and reopen from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Sept 5-7, and 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Sept. 8.

For more information, visit

Grad student resource fair

All graduate students are invited to attend the Resource Fair for Graduate Students, set for 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, in the Bernhard Center's North Ballroom. Representatives from offices across campus will be on hand to present information about the resources and services available to both new and returning graduate students. The fair will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, Aug. 30-Sept. 1. It is closed Saturday through Monday in observance of Labor Day, and will and reopen from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Sept 5-7, and 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, Sept. 8.

For more information, visit

Bronco Bash

Photo of WMU Bronco Bash 2016.

Bronco Bash 2016

More than 25,000 students and other members of the Kalamazoo community are expected to gather on the Sangren Pedestrian Mall from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, for the 37th annual Bronco Bash. The event is a huge celebration welcoming students to the campus and to Kalamazoo. It features games, live entertainment and more than 450 booths, where students can peruse the wares of area merchants and get information about WMU departments, student organizations and local volunteer opportunities. Bronco Bash is free, and food is available for purchase.

For more information, visit Direct questions to the student coordinators in the Bronco Bash office at or (269) 387-0083.

Fall Fab Fest

Local organizations have joined forces with the Office of Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgendered Student Services to stage the sixth Fall Fab Fest from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, in the Trimpe Building's Multicultural Center. Open to all local residents, this free event builds and celebrates the LBGT community. It also is a welcome-to-Kalamazoo gathering for LBGT people and their allies, particularly area students who are arriving in town for a new school year. Participants will be able to connect with local nonprofit organizations as well as with WMU's LBGT student organizations and their on-campus partners. This year's Fall Fab Fest, which has "A Queer Ball" as its theme, includes food, entertainment by local performers and an open-mic/drag show. The event will be hosted by local drag queen Savannah J Hawthorne.

For more information, visit Direct questions to Natalie Nguyen, director of the Office of LBGT Student Services, at or (269) 387-2123.

Maps and parking

Maps of WMU's Kalamazoo campuses and buildings are available at

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit