The Voices of Welcome Week
Another new year at UCI calls for another Welcome Week and according to both incoming and returning anteaters, this one has not disappointed in the slightest.
Welcome Week for the 2014-2015 year began on Sept. 29th.For many first-year students, mentions of Welcome Week were incorporated into their orientation experience and advertised throughout various social media platforms. Monica Sharda, a first-year biological sciences major, had heard about Welcome Week from her SPOP staffers and had seen postings about it around Facebook.
“I was kind of confused about [the concept] of Week 0, but I got a general idea of what Welcome Week was,” said Sharda. “I had heard pretty good reviews about other Welcome Weeks, so I was excited.”
Sharda really enjoyed the opportunities to bond with other new students, most importantly her hallmates and her friend Mardella Birondo, also first-year biological sciences major.
Birondo had also heard about Welcome Week during orientation by her SPOP staffer.
“My SPOP leader really advertised Welcome Week as something fun you need to go to,” said Birondo “Since I’m from the Bay area, [my leader] mentioned that Welcome Week would really help me settle in.”
Birondo also agreed that Welcome Week really helped with the transition from her hometown to a large public university.
“I was nervous coming in from a small town. I expected Welcome Week to be a lot of fun and it really was,” said Birondo.
The Welcoming Convocation for the new incoming students worked to get first-year undecided/undeclared major, Jessica Cuellar, excited for college.
“I liked the speeches that were given. It was pretty fun, and helpful with spreading school pride,” said Cuellar. “It was also really cool to see how many new students there are, which gave me an idea of how big our class is.”
The Anteater Involvement Fair was the first major event of Welcome Week and ran on Monday, Sept. 29th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cuellar found the fair to be great for incorporating herself into the UCI community.
“I wanted to join clubs and the fair seemed like the best place to get information about that,” said Cuellar. “Right now, I’m just pretty excited about all the clubs I looked into and all the events they’re going to be having soon.”
First-year pharmaceutical sciences major, Vida Ordonez, also used the Anteater Involvement Fair to seek out organizations of her interest.
“I did some research before going into the fair. I was looking for Filipino clubs and pre-health clubs and got a lot of information about their events.” said Ordonez.
The Anteater Involvement Fair was also an exciting event for returning students.
“I think getting involved on campus is really important, especially because UCI is such a big campus,” said Salgado. “It’s a great event to show new students what UCI has to offer.”
Salgado was boothing for Nu Alpha Kappa, a Latino-based fraternity.
“We were able to show people what our fraternity was all about. I noticed the turnout this year was really big and we had a lot first-years,” said Salgado. “I approached them and a lot of them opened up to me, which was really cool.”
Zinab Alsadek, a second-year biology major, who boothed for the Society of Arab Students, agreed with Salgado’s views about the fair being imperative for first years to get involved.
“I’m a board member and I wanted to let Arab students on campus know that there is a social club for them,” said Alsadek. “The fair gives off a great vibe for UCI.”
Entertainment events during Welcome Week were also big hits amongst the first-years. The record-breaking pillow fight and the “Aldrich Park After Dark” concert were particularly popular. Joyce Wang, a first-year Business Economics major, attended the concert after hearing all the buzz about Yuna, whom her friend is a huge fan of.
“My friend was really jealous! The opening acts were also actually pretty good,” said Wang. “Yuna was great too, of course. Me and my suite-mates all had a lot of fun together there.”
For Benjamin Advincula, a first-year biological sciences major, the allure of participating in the pillow fight lay mainly in being a part of breaking a world record.
“I enjoyed it, even though I waited in the sun for four hours, but it really helped strengthen the bonds with the people I met,” said Advincula. “The free t-shirt was a plus.”
All in all, this year’s Welcome Week resulted in a chance for new students to start their first year at UCI strong and explore all the possibilities available to them on this campus.
“I’m even more excited for next year’s Welcome Week,” said Sharda. “I won’t be as ner-vous this time and focus completely on having fun.”