The doors opened this morning to the largest group ever to live on the Stanislaus State campus, with 720 students celebrating Move-In Day, each in their own style.
Some will choose a Spartan style of décor for their rooms, moving in with bedding, clothing, essentials and little else. Others will decorate in grand style, either trying to replicate the comforts of home or trying to give their small space a definite style sense.
But no matter the state of the living spaces, everyone taking part in Move-In Day will be bonding during what Stan State Housing and Residential Life hopes will be the first of an annual occasion — a full week (Aug. 18-23) of activities prior to the first day of classes.
“Welcome Week is about providing a comprehensive experience for the housing students,” said Jennifer Humphrey, Director for Housing and Residential Life. “It’s not just about being academically successful, it’s about being personally successful. It’s also about making sure they have a blend between their living experience and their University experience.”
Incoming student residents always have taken part in meetings and seminars over several days, with social mixers combined with the mandatory process of making sure the new kids on the block knew the rules for life on campus.
But Welcome Week is different. Humphrey and her staff, led by Assistant Director Rebekah Gregory, not only have listened to the students over the years, but have distributed, collected and analyzed hundreds of student surveys regarding dorm life to come up with six full days of seminars, workshops and activities.
“In coming up with the Welcome Week program, we tried to cover all the areas the students talked to us about, combined with looking at demographic data, student success data and satisfaction data,” Humphrey said. “A great example is the session on dealing with roommates and why they might not communicate, which came right off a lot of the concerns and comments we received from students.”
Other sessions, led by both peers and professionals, will deal with how to get the most from your meal plan, how to manage finances, how to deal with the pressures of being a student and how to stay connected with home. Those are only a few of the dozens of sessions spread out during Welcome Week, which also will include ample social and team-building opportunities.
“The first night is about community and making sure students don’t feel as though they’re alone,” Humphrey said. “The second day is about the University experience and then we transition into campus safety. All of them have fun and interactive elements.”
Karina Delgadillo, a student assistant in housing, is helping with the organization of Welcome Week while wishing many of the workshops would have been available to her when she first arrived at Stan State from the Bay Area.
“I wish they would have had the workshops when I first moved-in, especially the ones on academics, getting along with roommates and about all the resources on campus that are available,” said the business administration major. “The benefit of Welcome Week is that students are going to have a better idea of what it means to be living on their own — not being at home with their parents. There are a lot of workshops to help students understand the things that are important to know about life without parents around — a lot of what’s right and what’s wrong.”
The nights also will be busy. Between a swim party, outdoor movie night and a grand closing ceremony, the housing leaders are making sure the six-day Welcome Week is not all work and no play. On the other hand, every activity aims to further the goal of Stan State housing: To help students integrate, acclimate and graduate in a timely manner.
“When you connect all of that you can see how we’re addressing all these areas throughout our Welcome Week schedule,” Humphrey said. “It’s all intended to get them excited about being in college but also to get them started on the path to being successful, to keep them engaged.”