WVU celebrates arrival of nearly 6,000 new students

After a weekend of navigating Morgantown traffic, unpacking life's belongings and meeting strangers-turned-friends, 6,000 new West Virginia University students received their official welcome Sunday (Aug. 17) to the land of gold-and-blue.

After a weekend of navigating Morgantown traffic, unpacking life’s belongings and meeting strangers-turned-friends, 6,000 new West Virginia University students received their official welcome Sunday (Aug. 17) to the land of gold-and-blue.

All incoming freshmen and transfer students gathered at the WVU Coliseum for the New Student Welcome celebration, where campus leaders, including President Gordon Gee and Provost Joyce McConnell, showered them with encouragement in the form of advice videos, sing-alongs and top 10 lists.

To cap off the welcome, Mountaineer Mascot Michael Garcia led the class in a series of cheers and a rendition of the John Denver song “Country Roads” – one foolproof way to bring all true Mountaineers together.

See what the Class of 2018 is saying here.

Sunday’s featured speaker, 2010 mechanical aerospace engineering graduate Emily Calandrelli, had a serious message for students.

Calandrelli, host of Fox’s Xploration Nation: Outerspace, a half-hour educational television program based on STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, gave them a simple challenge: Make life at WVU so interesting that someone would want to write a book about them by the time they graduate.

“West Virginia University can either be a good school or a great school,” she said. “You can have a normal college experience, or an extraordinary one. I challenge you to get involved and create a story worth telling.”

After graduating at WVU, Calendrelli went on to earn two master’s degrees at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and serve as a visiting scholar at Harvard. And although she has Ivy League experience, she credits her time at WVU as the most beneficial.

“WVU’s competitive advantage over Ivy League type schools, is that the students here are much more involved,” she said. “Simply doing well in school is not enough for Mountaineers. We need more adventure than that. And this works in your favor. If you can get good grades and are involved in various clubs, research, internships and organizations, you won’t just have a good story at WVU – you’re guaranteed to have an even more exciting one after you leave here.”

Also on Sunday, President Gee addressed the students with his top 10 pieces of advice for incoming freshmen. In Gee-fashion, he injected a bit of humor into the list to ease the worries of students, who begin classes Monday.

Gee’s top pieces of advice were:

10: Be thrifty with your finances: “Do not spend all of your financial aid money on pepperoni rolls and ice cream,” Gee said, “though that does sound delicious.”

9: Utilize our online DegreeWorks program to track your progress toward graduation.

8: Spend time getting to know everyone from your neighbors to your suite-mates—to your professors to your classmates: “They could end up being your closest friends not only for the next four years, but for life. Also, you might need them if you lock yourself out of your dorm room.”

7: Stay active: “I work out every morning at the Rec Center, and you should try to get there as much as you can. You will feel better, look better, and exercise also keeps your mind sharp.”

6: Follow me on Instagram because I take the best selfies,” as he took one from the stage, with thousands of students in the background.

5: Feel free to walk up to folks at random and introduce yourself: “We are one of the friendliest campuses in the country. After all, a stranger may end up being your future BFF—or your wife or husband.

4: Take advantage of the events on campus.

3: Leave at least 30 minutes to get from the Evansdale and Downtown campuses: “You will find out eventually why.”

2: Take chances. Do not be afraid: “The brilliance of West Virginia University is that you can make a mistake every now and then and still find yourself, earn a degree and start a career. You will not fulfill your duties as a college student if you do not expand your boundaries.”

1: Be yourself: “It is important to stay true to yourself. Life will be much easier if you do that. Before you know it, you will be here in four years – and I will shake your hand and give you your diploma.”

Gee also introduced Morgantown Mayor Jenny Selin to the students, and called Morgantown “your new home,” and “a great college town.”

Freshmen also heard from their Student Government Association President Chris Nyden.

“These are four years that you will never get back again and you should cherish them,” said Nyden, a political science major. “Step outside your comfort zone and try new things because, in the blink of an eye, you will all be in my shoes starting your senior year thinking, ‘Wow, where did the time go?’”

Students began their college careers on campus Friday as they and their families from all around the country and world traveled to Morgantown for move-in day. Over the day, representatives in the Mountainlair assisted them with questions concerning financial aid, work study, registration, scholarships, student accounts, dining services and student employment.

Students were also invited to welcome cookouts on both campuses, their first WVUp All Night and a VIP shopping event.

On Saturday, students participated in First-Year Academy, in which they had an opportunity to meet with faculty and administrators. They will celebrate the start of the semester Monday with a full slate of classes, topped off with FallFest 2014, a free concert open to all WVU students.



CONTACT: University Relations/News

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