Oregon State students prepare for college life with CONNECT Week

Freshmen in 2009 participate in a College of Engineering CONNECT Week event. (contributed photo)

Students begin moving into the Oregon State residence halls on Sunday, Sept. 19 and will have a full week to settle into campus life before they begin classes on Monday, Sept. 27.

To help incoming students ease into their new surroundings, OSU created CONNECT Week, which has proven to be instrumental in helping them achieve academic success.

“One of the most important transition times for students is during their first week on campus,” said Kris Winter, director of New Student Programs and Family Outreach. “At this time students are exposed to Oregon State University’s values and expectations. CONNECT week is an intentional way for our students to create meaningful ties with other students, faculty and staff.”

CONNECT Week takes place the week before classes start during fall term, kicking off on Tuesday, Sept. 21, with one of CONNECT’s most popular events, New Student Convocation. New classmates and their families meet in the Memorial Union Quad and walk to Gill Coliseum, the same walk they will make when they graduate from the university. Once at Gill, they will be welcomed by OSU President Ed Ray. The keynote speaker will be speech communication professor emeritus Dick Weinman, and Larry Roper, vice provost for student affairs, will present the students to Ray.

“CONNECT events introduce new students to the OSU and Corvallis community,” Winter said. “The events will not only serve as the beginning of students feeling like a part the OSU family, but as a catalyst for them to become active, engaged and productive members of the OSU Community of Scholars.”

A new student picnic in the MU Quad follows convocation. University Housing and Dining Services, the Memorial Union, OSU Catering, Campus Recycling and the Residence Hall Association all pitch in to help. The event is popular, with about 2,800 students in attendance last year.

“The OSU marching band usually kicks it off and it just has a lot of positive energy,” said Leslee Mayers, assistant director of New Student Programs and Family Outreach.

Activities continue throughout CONNECT Week, and include a special shopping event at Fred Meyer on Wednesday, Sept. 22, that’s exclusively for OSU students, and a Camp Out in the Quad on Thursday, Sept. 23, that includes movies, a carnival, free food and prizes.

On Friday, Sept. 24, students have a unique opportunity to get to know other students and become invested in Corvallis at the same time. OSU and United Way are partnering on a day of community service called Day of Caring. Students receive a T-shirt and lunch, and get to work on a community project with other volunteers. Faculty and staff serve as service project team leaders during the event.

Other activities include open houses, mini-classes, and programs ranging from sexual violence awareness to a seminar on how to best use the library. A text message scavenger hunt and a Dixon Recreation Night are also included.

While some of the CONNECT Week activities are arranged by the Office of New Student Programs and Family Outreach, others are organized by departments, colleges and residence halls. All fall under the CONNECT umbrella.

For instance, the College of Engineering started partnering with Recreational Sports last year to provide two big engineering activities in the MU Quad for its more than 1,000 new students. Brett McFarlane, director of undergraduate programs for the college, said the activities provide students a chance to get better acquainted while they build problem-solving skills.

This year the engineering event will be held on the afternoon of Sept. 23, and will be followed by an ice cream social open to all CONNECT students.

For a full schedule of events and to learn more about CONNECT Week, see http://oregonstate.edu/newstudents/connect/

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