Get set for Fall Welcome Days events

By Steffie Drucker

Classes may start on August 24, but campus comes to life the moment that students move in. If you’re new to campus, Fall Welcome Week is the perfect time to get acclimated and familiarize yourself. 

The University of Illinois pulls out all the stops with these annual events to welcome new students to campus. On the first day of class, you’ll be clinging to your class schedule. We’ve got your schedule for all the fun the week before.

Thursday, Aug. 20:

Move-in Day/Welcome Days Check-in
Time: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at various locations

All University Housing residents are permitted to begin moving into their residence halls beginning at 8 a.m. unless you have an early arrival in a living learning community.

After meeting your roommate, getting your room set up and waving goodbye to your parents, you’ll attend your first floor meeting. There you’ll meet your resident adviser, learn about residence hall policies and probably play some icebreaker games to get to know others.

Friday, Aug. 21:

New Student Convocation
Time: 10:30 a.m. at Memorial Stadium

This is the University’s official welcome ceremony. You’ll hear a speech from Chancellor Phyllis Wise and other faculty about what makes the University of Illinois so special.

The most special part of this ceremony, in my opinion, is that this is the only time prior to graduation that your entire class will be gathered in one space.

College Picnic
Time: After New Student Convocation at Tailgate Lot 31

You will have been given a wristband representing which college you belong to. Make sure you’re wearing it on this day or remember what color it is so you can eat with the right group.

This is a great time to meet other students from your college and major. You’ll also get to participate in breaking a Guinness World Record with University Housing’s dining unit!

College Receptions
Time: 1 p.m. at various locations

Next you’ll go to your college’s welcome reception. All programs start at 1 p.m. (except for FAA and Engineering, whose programs take place later in the evening or the following day).

Each program is a little different, but basically you’ll learn more about your college from its administrators, professors and current students.

Illini Union Late Nighter
Time: 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Illini Union

Explore the Illini Union by night and see what fun lies in store. There are all kinds of activities available from year-to-year: bowling, billiards, a caricature artist, free food, performances and more. This is one of the most fun and well attended events of Welcome Week, so I would recommend going on the earlier side in case supplies run out.

Saturday, Aug. 22:

Service First
Time: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Illini Union

This is one of many opportunities to perform valuable service and give back to the Champaign-Urbana community that surrounds our campus. A registration email will be sent out in early August. Since Service First is a limited-attendance event, it’s important to register early in order to secure your spot. Volunteers will receive a light breakfast and lunch as part of the program.

New Student Sessions
Time: 12 p.m. at Main Quad 

New Student Programs hosts informational sessions for new students to learn more about campus resources like McKinley Health Center, the Career Center and Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. Class schedule tours will also be offered. Whether or not you go on the “official” class schedule tour, it’s a good idea to walk through your schedule for the first few days before classes begin so you don’t wander in lost and late on the first day.

Illinois Sights and Sounds
Time: 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium

Illinois Sights and Sounds is another Welcome Week staple. You’ll learn all about different Illinois traditions, including some of the cheers and dances performed in the Block I student section at football games. At the end of Illinois Sights and Sounds, you and your classmates will form a giant “Block I” for a class photo.

Campus Recreation Block Party

Time: Directly following Illinois Sights and Sounds ending around 11 p.m. at the Activities and Recreation Center, known as ARC

Following Illinois Sights and Sounds, walk back across the street to explore the ARC, the campus’ largest fitness and recreation center. The ARC has space and equipment for just about any physical activity: dance studios, racquetball courts, countless weight-lifting machines, vast basketball courts, two pools … the list goes on. This is a great time to wander the facility, meet the staff and get some more free giveaways.

Sunday, Aug. 23:

Quad Day
Time: 12 to 4 p.m. at Main Quad

Quad Day is the culminating event of Welcome Week, and arguably one of the best days of the entire year. The Main Quad and the avenues extending off of it will be lined with hundreds of tables for the University’s 1,400+ Registered Student Organizations to set up displays. 

You will wade through a sea of hundreds upon hundreds of students — perhaps even thousands upon thousands — bombarded by noise and free handouts from every direction. 

Quad Day also almost always happens to be the hottest day of the year, so make sure to bring a water bottle and sunscreen and take breaks to go inside and rehydrate when necessary. You may be tempted to tackle Quad Day with a large group of your new friends, as is the style of freshmen during Welcome Week. I can almost guarantee that you will get separated, so I’d recommend attempting to stick with one or two buddies or just going it alone. 

You will also be tempted to sign up for anything and everything that seems even remotely interesting. Do it! Be forewarned: You will receive an overwhelming amount of emails from all those different clubs as a result, especially in the first weeks of class, some of whose listservs you’ll stay on for four years (no matter how many times you request to unsubscribe). 

Steffie is a junior in Media.
[email protected]  Tweet: Classes start August 24, but campus life gets going the moment you move in. Here’s what to expect during #ILLINOISwelcome. |