By Frances Clause
The excitement of the fall semester at Youngstown State University can be felt through the festivities of Welcome Week. This year’s theme, “Here For It,” will connect new and returning students to their Penguin pride.
From lining up for free nachos at Maag Library to petting dogs at Puppy Palooza for stress relief, Student Activities planned the week to ensure the transition into a busy semester schedule is balanced with games, food and helpful resources.
While returning students’ Welcome Week began with the semester, new students began early at IGNITE, a campuswide collaboration aiming to get the students involved and comfortable at YSU.
Karen Becker, director of First Year Experience, said IGNITE is an opportunity to connect new students with similar interests.
“[IGNITE] is a nice opportunity to meet in teams and do some fun activities that are based out of your college or major,” she said. “So, when you walk around campus, there’s people you know and can say hello to besides the folks that you’re just used to maybe seeing from your hometown.”
Becker’s advice to new students during Welcome Week is to get out and have fun because after that, the time will come to work through the busy semester.
“I think it’s important to find out what’s available on campus that’s fun but is also academically helpful like the writing center and math assistance center,” she said. “A lot of those places participate in Welcome Week in different ways.”
While organizations and students participate in Welcome Week, some are passionate about planning its events.
Samantha Davis, a junior marketing management major and marketing coordinator for Student Activities’ major events, said she decided to get involved with planning Welcome Week because it gets new students acclimated to campus and returning students excited to come back.
“The first thing is figuring out what students want to see,” she said, referring to this year’s preparations. “We decided to have a bunch of giant inflatables, lots of music and lots of prizes to incentivize students to attend the events.”
A new event this year is the Think Fast Game Show that will involve trivia, pop culture, music and dancing.
“Students are bound to love it,” Davis said. “You could either do it by yourself, or you could do it in a group and at the end there is a $200 cash prize.”
But, out of all events to participate in throughout the week, Davis believes Build-A-Penguin is the most popular among students.
Davis said Student Activities will publish the date, time and location of Build-A-Penguin on its social media platforms to encourage students to follow its accounts and get involved.
“We have a bunch of fun stuff planned for the academic year for Guins to enjoy, so it’s important to know when they’re happening,” she said.
Chaste Chapman, a senior psychology major, said she is making sure to attend Welcome Week’s many activities, and they hold the power to give students confidence.
“My goal is to meet, connect and build relationships with other students,” she said. “They may be homesick, but I want to show them how to have a good first week.”
“I’m looking forward to the many things up ahead not only for me, but those who come after me,” she added.
For more information on Welcome Week activities, go to ysu.edu/welcomeweek.