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Husky WOW welcoming events planned
July 27, 1998

New and returning UConn students next month had better show up in Storrs with healthy appetites - for food and academics.

The annual Husky WOW program (Weeks of Welcome) returns this year, bigger and better than ever, and featuring an early opening for students new to UConn - as first-year freshmen, transfers or branchfers. The new students, and their parents, who have been asked to arrive on August 29, will be treated to helping hands from the Husky Haulers and the Greek Moving Co., tours and information sessions, an opportunity to conduct any business they may have missed during the summer (business offices will be open throughout the weekend), an academic convocation, a picnic, an event in Jorgensen Auditorium, an ice cream social, and introductions to new friends and classmates.

On Sunday, August 30, returning students will join the mix, during what will be largely an academically oriented day for both new and returning students. Deans and department heads will be available to meet students interested in pursuing majors under their direction, and break-out groups for discussions of the book Amistad will fill the early afternoon for the freshmen and transfers. About 100 groups (85 faculty and professional staff have already volunteered to lead groups) comprised of about 30 students each, will move to classrooms for the meetings. That afternoon, they can compare their thoughts with those of the book's author, former UConn publicist David Pesci, who will address the community at 2:30 p.m. in Jorgensen Auditorium.

That evening, a community-wide activity is planned.

"We're really trying this year to set the tone for the new students, remind them that they're here to learn, to study, and get involved. By bringing new students in a day early, it also gives the University a chance to let them know they're special. And, by offering an academic convocation, with the University's leadership and faculty assembled in full regalia, we can convey both those messages to the students and their parents," says M. Kevin Fahey, coordinator of WOW activities.

Officials also hope that, by bringing new students in early, they can meet and make friends with other newcomers to campus, easing their transition to college life before having to find their way among thousands of upperclassmen.

By Monday, the activities will reach a crescendo, again beginning with academics as a focal point.

After a continental breakfast, several hundred freshmen will head to classrooms to complete placement tests, while most other new students will head to Jorgensen Auditorium for a First Year Experience reception and introduction session or to the Student Union to participate in campus issues workshops, where faculty and staff will lead group discussions focusing on a variety of topics including computers, e-mail and web pages, co-curricular activities, public opinion polling and a library information fest.

At noon on August 31, a Back to Campus Festival will be held in the open spaces that surround the UConn Co-op. Brunch will be served at a variety of locations from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., followed by dinner and another evening event. On Tuesday, a job fair will be offered in the Student Union Ballroom from 9 a.m. until noon, and from 1:30-4:30 p.m.; and from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. the annual Husky WOW picnic will take place on the Student Union Mall. This year's theme is Medieval Magic.

Then, on September 1, it's back to work, as classes begin for all students.

Faculty or staff interested in helping with the weekend are still welcome. Anyone willing to join the Husky Haulers should contact Kim Chambers at (860) 486-2150 or via e-mail at Chambers says about 40 people have agreed to pitch in so far, but many more would be appreciated. Haulers can work any of three shifts: 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. August 29, as new students move in; or August 30, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., and from 1-5 p.m. Lunch and T-shirts will be provided to all haulers.

Faculty or staff interested in leading a reading discussion group should call Amy deFlumere at (860) 486-6121.

Richard Veilleux