Fall Welcome program gets students ready for start

Contact: Deanne Puca
A group of students with masks sit and stand in front of Sangren Hall.

Students will find campus operations are different when they arrive on campus but still welcoming.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Fall move in for Western Michigan University students begins Thursday, Aug. 27, with new health and safety protocols, more virtual events and expectations for behavior in place. Staff helping students with their transition say despite the changes, one fall tradition will remain the same—it will be welcoming.

The Fall Welcome program connects students with campus, other students, faculty and staff. It is required for first-year students and highly encouraged for new transfer students. This year, those connections are more important than ever, says Matthew Bracey, Fall Welcome coordinator in the Office of Student Transitions, as the office has moved many programs online and reduced the size of in-person events. He also encourages students to become familiar with the University's Safe Return Plan.

"Our main goal is to ensure that students can move onto campus, get acclimated to the different safety procedures and get an idea what distance education will look like," Bracey says. "It all comes down to individuals working collectively to stay safe. We all have to do our part, and students need to know what is expected of them."

While the most visible Fall Welcome events of the past have been large social gatherings, Bracey says academic programs actually make up the majority of activities. This year, almost all colleges will have virtual programs; there are also virtual and small-group gatherings for groups like ROTC, TRIO and Lee Honors College. Participants can view the Fall Welcome schedule on the Student Transitions website.

"Your academic departments are here to help you," he encourages students. "We still have all the fun stuff, but we want to get through this pandemic safely and respectfully."

Additionally, due to precautions regarding COVID-19, there will not be a One Stop Center for fall 2020. Contact the Office of the Registrar with questions.

Highlights of Fall Welcome from Aug. 27 to Sept. 1 include:

  • After Dark Activities: Thursday through Monday
  • Scavenger Hunt: Friday, Sunday and Monday
  • Playfair: Saturday from 8 to 10 p.m.
  • Resource Fair: Sunday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Fitness Mash-up: Sunday from 3 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Wellness Trivia: Monday from 10 to 11 a.m.
  • Virtual Matriculation Ceremony: Tuesday from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.