Students could smell the free food and hear the music almost from across campus. If they followed their noses, they would be led to snow cones and cotton candy, a caricature artist and lawn games. All of these festivities were a part of the Welcome Week experience the college offered to welcome students back to school.
To advertise Welcome Week, there were fliers posted, it was mentioned at new student orientation and the schedule was posted on the school website. However, a significant number of students were completely unaware of what “Welcome Week” was. Ironically, that group was mostly composed of the very students that Welcome Week was designed for; freshmen.
However, the group of freshmen that did know about the festive happenings were thoroughly impressed.
Jordan, a freshman digital media major, said that Welcome Week was very useful and helped him, “find most of [his] classes.” He said that he had traveled the campus during orientation and did so again a few days before the start of classes, but the Welcome Week activities made him feel even more comfortable finding his way through campus.
When asked how he knew about Welcome Week, Jordan said that he had merely been passing by.
In addition to increasing the amount of ease in first year students, Welcome Week also helped to showcase how different the college experience is compared to high school[RJ3] . For a high school outcast, who asked to be kept anonymous, this concept really calmed his anxiety.
“I had many anxiety attacks about coming here, but Welcome Week helped me to see how nice people can be,” he said.
This Fine Arts major also said how he felt that college is “totally different” from high school and how he “sorta” looked forward to the rest of the semester.
But to Hudson Valley Seniors, Welcome Week posed as a far different experience. Welcome Week was not about getting familiar with the campus, but more about reconnecting with old friends and classmates.
The reality, though, was that the free food drew most seniors to the Welcome Week festivities. Out of 13 seniors surveyed, 12 said that the food was their strongest motivation for taking part in Welcome Week instead of hiding out in the library to start papers.
As more than one student asked, “Who doesn’t like free food?”
According to Hudson Valley seniors, this welcome week far surpassed that of the Welcome Week that kick-started their freshman year. The food was better, the music was fantastic and the karaoke machine made walking to class far more entertaining.