Fresh welcome for fresh students

Every August new students come a few days early to participate in the tradition of Ram Welcome. This year, however, the university has updated Ram Welcome in an effort to better introduce students to CSU.

The four day event is put on by Orientation and Transition Programs as a way for freshmen and transfer students to find their footing around campus and hopefully breathe easier on the first day of classes. Participants are encouraged to get out, meet new people and surround themselves with all things CSU.

“It’s a good experience. It’s a good way to meet new people because we’re all new,” said first year student Brendon Fritz.

In addition to the classic traditions of Convocation, the carnival, the We Are CSU photo and Hike to the “A”, students were also presented with several brand new events and programs designed just for them.

Thursday started off the weekend with the New Student and Family picnic. Hosted by Housing and Dining Services, everything from the dinner was recyclable or compostable. Thousands showed up for food and conversation, and with the use of recycling and compost bins hardly any waste was created.

With ongoing construction on the Lory Student Center, Friday night’s Ramapalooza was moved to the Recreation Center.

“Attendance was phenomenal and it was really an opportunity for campus activities to show off, and also for campus recreation to showcase their programs and services,” said Keith Lopez, assistant director of Orientation and Transition Programs.

The biggest addition to Ram Welcome this year was the creation of the “RAMbunctious” pep rally that was held at Moby Arena on Saturday night. The rally was sponsored by athletics and presented new students with the opportunity to get the full Moby experience, according to Lopez.

“We want to really engage new students with Ram Athletics,” he said. “If we’re talking about pride and tradition, athletics is one great way to demonstrate pride and tradition in your university and to be a part of the community.”

This year also included more events specific to transfer students than in previous years.

“We know that our transfer students have unique needs compared to our first year students and we wanted to really create and tailor a more unique experience for transfer students,” said Lopez.

Despite activities tailored to transfer students, many still thought the most worthwhile events were the ones that included incoming first year students.

“The most informative thing was when we went to our actual colleges and got to meet the people in the department,” said Erica Ruvin, sophomore art major. “That was the coolest thing we got to do because I met a lot of people who I’m going to be working with.”

Even with the changes, some traditions remain constant and as always the yellow shirted Ram Welcome Leaders — along with the help of RAs — guide first year students through the weekend.

“This is a very engaged new student class,” said Lopez. “They’re really participating and we attribute that to the students as well as the RAs and Ram Welcome Leaders who engage them in these programs.”

Over 300 people fought for 200 spots as a Ram Welcome leader this year. The leaders are chosen and supervised by Orientation Leaders.

“We sell it as a leadership experience for students to give back to the CSU community and to assist students with their transition,” said Lopez. “We’re really lucky to have some really phenomenal Ram Welcome Leaders who can represent the university well and engage first year students.”

Senior Reporter McKenna Ferguson can be reached at news@collegian.com.