AmbroseZine | July 2021
First-year and transfer students who are preparing to move to campus in August are not alone in their excitement about the possibilities and experiences that await. After the COVID-19 pandemic required a cautious pause on most Welcome Week activities last year, students, staff ,and faculty are just as excited.
The St. Ambrose University plan to return to "responsible normalcy" this fall will allow for large, in-person Welcome Week gatherings for the first time since 2019. Organizers have created a long list of fun and immersive events that will introduce new students to the campus, community, and most of all, each other.
"It was so strange last year. We weren't able to do things as we normally do to kick off the academic year and had to forgo some of our traditions," said Jason Richter, director of student activities. "We are so excited to roll out a new year," he added.
Welcome Week activities are scheduled Aug. 20 - 31, and the lineup includes a cook-out, block party with the band Ten of Soul, an outdoor movie, Club Fest, tours of campus buildings, a River Bandits game, trivia, grocery bingo, a hypnotist, the traditional Mass and blessing of the school year, and the formal academic convocation.
While the week is filled with fun activities and a lot of food, the goal is very intentional.
"Welcome Week is a time for students to become acquainted with St. Ambrose, learn what it means to be an Ambrosian, what the university offers academically and socially, and even getting used to the cafeteria hours," Richter said. "It is an opportunity to become engaged and comfortable within their new community. The quicker it feels like home the better they will do as students."
The events are planned and sponsored by various campus departments and student organizations, including Student Activities, Campus Ministry, Residence Life, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the student-led Campus Activities Board (CAB).
"Last year we had to figure out how to make Welcome Week as normal as we possibly could during COVID, while wearing masks and socially-distancing," said CAB president, Melina Garcia. "We are really excited we can have a normal Welcome Week this year and can fully show new students what St. Ambrose is all about."
Welcome Week 2021
Making Ambrose feel like home as quickly as possible is key to a successful first semester. Welcome Home to all new and returning students!
CAB also wants to mark the milestone with a new tradition: taking a Class of 2025 photo. "We've never had a class photo of incoming first-year students, and it's something we can put into the SAU archives for future students to see," she said.
Following the CAB-sponsored photo shoot Friday night, it will lead the Class of 2025 to the Rogalski Center for an ice cream social and yes, roller skating, inside the ballroom on a 2,500 square foot portable rink.
Garcia encourages all new and transfer students to attend all of the events, even if that means going alone. "It always happens: someone will come up and start talking to you, and it's a great time to make new friends and get to know your classmates. Welcome Week is fun – it's when the magic happens!" she said.
Welcome Week also is a chance for Ambrosians to honor, and cheer on, the commitment first-year and transfer students have made to their education and personal growth at St. Ambrose, and Richter encourages new students to embrace every opportunity.
"Get out of your room. We have the best residence halls in the Midwest, but it does not mean you have to stay there," he said. "Get out of your room, and you'll get so much more out of your college experience."