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Despite COVID-19 challenges, Week of Welcome to burst with Huskie pride

August 6, 2020

Week of Welcome might look different this fall, but new students can still expect a fun, engaging celebration of Huskie pride as they discover what it means to be a Huskie.

This year’s Week of Welcome will include a range of exciting and friendly activities from Aug. 19 to Aug. 23, allowing first-year students and new transfer students to exclusively experience campus before the start of fall classes.

A combination of virtual and some in-person programming is being finalized, keeping in mind public health guidance and safety recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, but a full schedule of inspiring activities is planned.

“This year it is especially important to offer a WOW schedule that will help to set a precedent for what type of programming and experiences students can expect throughout the fall semester,” said Jenna Pracht, director of Orientation and First Year Programs.

“We’re really trying to be intentional about providing programming for students who are going to be living on and off campus. We also want to be respectful for students who don’t feel comfortable being back on campus. We’re doing everything we can to be inclusive, while still having that celebratory approach.”

Facilitated by Orientation and First Year programs and hosted in collaboration with Student Affairs, along with many partners from across the campus community, WOW builds community among incoming students, while introducing campus services and emphasizing all NIU has to offer.  

Students will meet with their academic colleges, learn about important campus resources, gain an understanding of their role and responsibilities as an active member of the Huskie community and participate in engaging activities with the campus and surrounding community, Pracht said.

“Ramp-up” communications preparing students for their WOW experience will include promotional messaging featuring campus student leaders, university leadership, the Huskie Marching Band, the Huskie Fight Song, orientation leaders and more.

Especially these days, Huskie pride has never been stronger, organizers say, because Huskies never quit.

“With the challenges we’ve all been facing individually and collectively, we want to keep moving forward by putting our students first. We want to ensure that students have opportunities to learn about NIU’s community, the resources and activities to aid in their overall success, all while celebrating the start of their journey at NIU,” said Melanie Griegoliet, assistant director of Orientation and First Year Programs.

Updates to the WOW schedule will continue, but a few highlights include:

  • Welcome Tents near residence halls during a phased move-in from Aug. 19 through Aug. 21, with orientation leaders available to greet and answer questions.
  • Fun activities like, Student Government Association-sponsored movie nights featuring “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Monster University,” an NIU-themed trivia night, a Residence Hall Association pizza party and more.
  • A Jewel Jamboree at the DeKalb Jewel-Osco location from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 19 through Aug. 21 featuring hot deals, a live DJ and tons of freebies.
  • Outdoor socially distanced recreational games and virtual fitness classes hosted by Recreation and Wellness.
  • Specialized events for programs like University Honors.
  • Virtual panel discussions hosted by student leaders from SGA, Campus Activities Board, fraternities and sororities, CHANCE, cultural resource centers, University Honors and Athletics.
  • E-Sports competitive online gaming tournaments featuring League of Legends, Overwatch, Valorantand Rocket League, as well as drop-in hours to play Super Smash Bros. in person.
  • Virtual live tour and Q & A session hosted by the Center for Student Assistance.
  • Open houses at our cultural resource centers.
  • A Huskie Bus Line tour of the NIU community and DeKalb.
  • Virtual academic college receptions.
  • A virtual town hall meeting for transfer and commuter students.