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News
Celebration welcomes students back

Photo
Joshua Sills/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Ashley Brandes, an undeclared freshman, loads up her plate at a BBQ held in the Grand Ballroom at the Student Union Memorial Center. The event was part of Wildcat Welcome Week.
By Jill Holt
Arizona Summer Wildcat
Monday August 25, 2003

Wildcat Welcome Week is in full swing, offering students entertainment, directions to class, and for those who know where to look, lots and lots of free stuff.

The six-year-old project, which officially began last Wednesday, welcomes back new and returning students. Nearly 300 volunteers assist new students moving into the residence halls and answer student questions at several Ask Me stations on campus.

"It's the UA's way of saying welcome, and that we are a caring community," said Saundra Taylor, vice-president for campus life. "We also want to showcase what we have to offer."

One of the most popular events was Friday's Wildcat Welcome Barbecue, held at the Student Union Memorial Center Ballroom. A record-breaking 1,400 students and parents attended, said Juliette Moore, director of campus recreation.

"I think it's really neat, a good opening event to get us all involved," said Mei-Ling Murray, a dance freshman, who attended the barbecue with her mother.

"It's a chance to meet new people, see some new faces," she said.

Moore said she believes the barbecue and other Welcome Week events have been extremely successful in helping students feel at home at the university.

"There are a lot of grateful parents, and the students appreciate the little things (such as) the free stuff," she said. "They ask us, ╬Why are you giving us free things?' And we say, ╬Because we're glad you're back!' We're thankful; it's our way of showing we appreciate your enrollment."

Wednesday night, students enjoyed a free screening of "Bend it Like Beckham" at Gallagher Theater in the SUMC. They also snacked on popcorn and soda, all on the house.

Kathy Adams Riester, Wildcat Welcome Week co-chair, said she was very excited about the turnout to the show, which drew more than 250 students to the 350-seat theater.

"For Wildcat Welcome this is really the first event, the kickoff," she said. "It sets the tone for the rest of the week."

Another popular event is the traditional Bear Down Ice Cream Bash on the Mall, which will take place this Thursday at noon. UA staff will serve free ice cream to help students cool off from the sweltering summer heat.

By offering activities such as these, students see an effort by the UA to be friendly and welcoming, said Taylor.

"(Plus), people can't believe it's free!" she said.


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