A freshman’s guide to Welcome Weekend

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The Marching Illini perform on the Foellinger terrace at Quad Day 2015.

By Annabeth Carlson , Managing editor for online

This is embarrassing to admit, but when I first moved to college freshman year and said goodbye to my parents, I was afraid to leave my dorm. Because I’m from a small town in southern Illinois and only knew two other people from my high school attending the University, I was nervous about making new friends and finding my place on such a big campus.
Luckily, the University offers many welcome week activities each year which helped me meet people in my dorm and beyond. Below, I have compiled a list of activities, most of which are geared toward freshman students. However, upperclassmen can attend some as well. These events are subject to change, so download the “Illinois Student Affairs” app to stay in the know.
Thursday, August 18
8 a.m.: Move-in Day begins
This is the official move-in day but it may be different if you chose a Living Learning Community or are an international student.
5:30 p.m.: Orientation/check-in for new students
Move-in day can be pretty hectic but at some point, make sure to meet with your RA to receive items like a wristband and welcome week information.
7 p.m.: Green Street.
Okay, I’m making this one up, but if you have some free time your first night, go check out all of the finest eateries this famous street has to offer. I highly recommend Azzip Pizza and Zorba’s Restaurant.
Friday, August 19
9:30 a.m.: Convocation for new students.
In the morning, your RA will lead the way to this ceremony, which is a pretty cool way to welcome new students to the University, with speeches from faculty.
1:30 p.m.: New student receptions.
Locations/details will vary depending on your college.
8 p.m.: Illini Union Late Nighter
According to Jenna Wicks, the program advisor at the Illini Union, this event will include a comedy show with Chloe Hillard and Francisco Ramos, as well as an improv comedy routine with the group “Mission Improvable.” There will also be a hypnotist, food samples from restaurants in the Union, caricatures, face painting, billiards and bowling.
Saturday, August 20
10:30 a.m.: Playfair and Lunch.
Ask your RA about this event on the South Quad featuring activities to help you learn and meet more people. And who can pass up free lunch?
12 p.m.: New Student Sessions.
Want to get a head start on Quad Day? Check out the new student sessions on the Main Quad where there will be representatives from Greek life, the Career Center, McKinley Health Center and more. Or honestly, just hang out on the Quad. It will quickly turn into your favorite spot to study (and sleep) between class.
3 p.m.: Alma Mater.
This is another recommendation from me, but hey, I’m a senior so I’m basically an expert, right? Go take a picture with the iconic Alma Mater (and send it to your mom who misses you like crazy at this point).
6 p.m.: Sights and Sounds.
This is a campus favorite for freshmen, as you get a free Illinois T-shirt and get to form the “Block-I” for a photo with your fellow classmates.
After Sights and Sounds: Campus Recreation Block Party. Sprint over to the ARC and learn about all the fitness center has to offer.
Sunday, August 21
12 p.m.: Quad Day.
This event is almost indisputably the best part of welcome week. This is the event where you can see just how many registered student organizations are on campus, such as Greek life organizations, club sports teams, book clubs and even “104 Degrees: The Illini Hot Tub Club”
4 p.m.: “ICelebrate.”
After Quad Day, head over to nearby Nevada Street where you can visit and learn about the many cultural and educational centers like the Native American House, La Casa Cultural Latina and more.
9 p.m.: Movie on the Quad.
The screening will be “Captain America: Civil War.” Bring popcorn!
Annabeth is a senior in Media.
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