Some 5,400 new West Virginia University students are headed to Welcome Week to begin their journey to academic attainment, lifelong friendships and embracing traditions rooted in old gold-and-blue.

In addition to returning Welcome Week events such as Mountaineer Midway, FallFest and FoodFest, incoming freshmen will have the opportunity to explore the wild and wonderful of West Virginia or engage in a community service project.

Corey Farris, associate vice president and dean of students, said this year’s revamped Welcome Week will better acclimate new Mountaineers – and reintroduce upperclassmen – to campus before the start of the fall semester. Welcome Week kicks off Thursday (Aug. 11) and extends through Tuesday, Aug. 16. Fall semester classes begin the following day on Wednesday, Aug. 17.

“All Welcome Week events are designed to quickly connect students to their University, their new friends, their community and the state of West Virginia,” Farris said. “For our newest students, we want to be intentional in launching their WVU careers in a positive environment that fosters learning, serving and having fun responsibly.”

Among the changes to this year’s schedule of festivities include:

• Classes will begin on a Wednesday, while Move-In Day changes from a weekday to Saturday.
• The former New Student Welcome event will be combined with the stadium event Monday Night Lights.
• Each academic college will host its students in meet-and-greet environments with faculty.
• All first-year students will have an opportunity to engage in Adventure WV team buildings activities or participate in community service projects in north central West Virginia.
• FallFest is moved to the day before classes begin, instead of the first day of class (Aug. 16) and will be held in a new location on the Evansdale Campus – Lot 77 beside the Health and Education Building (also known as the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences), next to the Student Rec Center.

Students will join with the Mountaineer Food Bank and WVU Club Sports Sunday afternoon at Mylan Park to pack a tractor-trailer full of food into backpacks for children in West Virginia experiencing food insecurity.

Student leaders with various club sports will also be there to engage new students in ultimate Frisbee, rugby, lacrosse and table tennis.

More than 900 Honors students will get a jumpstart on service as they partake in the Honors Day of Service Saturday. Some of those projects include aiding with Ronald McDonald House and flood relief efforts in southern West Virginia.

Honors College Dean Ken Blemings said the service component plays an important function in transitioning new students into the community. While service is not a requirement for the Honors College, it is strongly encouraged, Blemings said.

“Many of our Honors College students have key leadership roles in different service organizations including Student Government and Relay for Life,” he said.

He added that the Day of Service also allows Honors students to network with classmates and mentors before setting foot into the classroom.

But all students will have the chance to make new friends off the bat, particularly if they’re kayaking or climbing in an adventure-based team activity.

New students will participate in Adventure WV’s Choose Your Adventure, which will also include hiking, paddle boarding, canopy tours, rafting, cycling, mountain biking, disc golf and more.

“Some of these adventures also include a service project,” said Nathan Harlan, director of Adventure WV. “For example, students can ride mountain bike trails for a few hours and then after lunch they can spend a few more hours working on beautifying those trails with volunteer coordinators.

“WVU recognizes that welcoming students to campus requires us to meet their needs academically, socially, physically and emotionally. We want them to know that they belong on campus, in the community, in the local natural resources and in the classroom. We also want them to feel a sense of ownership over the community by making it better through a service project.”

Welcome Week’s service projects are part of the Center for Service and Learning initiatives.

This year’s incoming class represents one of the largest ever at WVU at around 5,400. That number is up 7.6 percent from last year, said Stephen Lee, associate vice president of enrollment management and executive director of admissions and recruitment. International student applications are also up, by 33.1 percent, Lee said.

Welcome Week events aren’t limited to only incoming freshmen. Upperclassmen can join in on the fun that is FoodFest, in which students can enjoy a variety of cuisines from local restaurants, and the perennial music event, FallFest. Both events will be held near the Health & Education building and Student Recreation Center on the Evansdale Campus. WVU Arts and Entertainment will announce the lineup and additional details Friday.

The decision to move FallFest, held on the Mountainlair Plaza in recent years, to the Evansdale Campus came after a recent engineering study of the plaza raised questions about its ability to continue to hold the active crowds which can swell to more than 20,000 during the concert. Further studies are planned, but officials said caution dictated the move for this year.

However, the move will also result in less disruption to downtown traffic as well as easy access on the PRT and other public transportation. The location should also result in better noise containment.

For more information on Welcome Week and to view a full schedule of events, go to



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