Last Friday was Move-in Day at Northern Illinois University when approximately 3,100 new students moved into the residence halls, helped by approximately 1,500 volunteers coming from the ranks of the students, faculty, administrators and community members. It also marked the official start of NIU’s Welcome Days, which by most standards was our best ever.
Thousands participated Friday evening’s Band Run and Huskie Family Welcome events, which brought energy and excitement to the start of our new students’ academic careers and was a great way to transition from life at home to college life. The event was completely re-designed to include family participation. Our emcee, Alex Gelman, closed the program with heartfelt comments that summed up our philosophy at NIU and put an exclamation mark on the event.
Participation in Saturday’s day of service increased threefold from last year. Also, 2,200 students took part in Saturday night’s Glow Bash despite having to be moved indoors due to inclement weather. The ballroom was filled to capacity and had a waiting list to get in.
Sunday’s President’s Welcome Picnic was outstanding. We served 4,250 people out at the East Lagoon, and I was glad a few of our Ellwood neighbors were able to join us. What a great venue, and what great participation in the activities, including canoeing on the lagoon. The musical performances by our students on the main stage were outstanding and enjoyed by many! It was a long day — a lot of work by many people not only that day but also in the planning stages for this and the other events this past week.
Thank you to all those that have made Welcome Days a success: Academic Affairs; Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, including Student Involvement and Leadership Development and Event Production Services, Housing & Dining, Campus Recreation, Commuter & Non-Traditional Student Services, Military Student Services and the Office of the Vice President; Operations and Community Relations, including Police and Public Safety; Marketing & Communications; the Student Association and the many student organizations and volunteers that worked so hard to get the year off to a good start. Thank you to you and the many more that contributed their time and talents to this endeavor.
I am grateful for the truly collaborative nature of many of the events and am hopeful that the cross-campus collaborations that helped make Welcome Days successful continue throughout the year. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing our new students lead the football team out on the field tonight before the home opener vs. Presbyterian.