With the four days of constant activity that is Ram Welcome in full swing, it may be hard to remember that not too long ago, students new to the Colorado State University campus didn’t have much to do between move-in and the first day of classes.
“For many years we had a brief orientation for students when we opened the residence halls a few days before school started,” recalls Vice President for Student Affairs Blanche Hughes. “Housing and Dining tried to do things in the halls and we had a very few programs in the LSC, but basically there was nothing that brought everyone together.”
That all changed about 10 years ago, when Student Affairs was given the task of putting together a large-scale program to better welcome students and their families to the Ram Family, and begin students’ successful adjustment to life at CSU. Student Affairs got together with all eight colleges to plan what should be part of Ram Welcome, and Orientation and Transition Programs, which was responsible for Ram Orientation, took the lead in programming and organizing the events.
Today, Ram Welcome is a collaboration between Student Affairs and the Provost’s Office that not only builds upon the initial Ram Orientation experience but also involves faculty and staff all across campus. Ram Welcome provides first-year students the opportunity to explore academic programs, meet faculty and staff, learn about the many services available to support their college experience, become part of the campus community, connect with new and current students, learn traditions, and discover what it means to be a CSU Ram.
Students are expected to attend all of Ram Welcome. For first-year students, the excitement begins as soon as everyone has moved in on Thursday, Aug. 20. At 4 p.m., students living in residence halls attend their floor meeting while students living off campus attend the Off-Campus Student Welcome. At 4:30 p.m., they meet their Ram Welcome Leader and learn more about the what, when and where of Ram Welcome.
Ram Welcome Leaders are CSU student volunteers who guide newbies through all the week’s activities and events. They help everyone get to the right place at the right time and are happy to answer any questions. Ram Welcome Leaders are easily identified by their gold Ram Welcome T-shirts.
For transfer students, adult students and student veterans there is programming throughout the day as part of Transfer Ram Welcome on Thursday and a specific Transfer, Adult and Student Veterans Welcome in the Lory Student Center Theatre beginning at 3:30p.m.
At 5:30 p.m., President Tony Frank, Provost Rick Miranda, Associated Students of CSU President Jason Sydoriak, and Vice President Hughes welcome first-year students to campus at Convocation in Moby Arena. Everyone will be wearing their For-Ever-Green t-shirts to the first official Green Out event of the year.
Convocation is followed by the new student and family zero-waste picnic on the intermural fields in front of the Student Rec Center, sponsored by the Alumni Association, and a carnival and concert.
Friday features mandatory College Welcome activities, a street fair over lunch under the bridge at Clark Hall, interest group meetings, and the ever-popular Ramapalooza in the Lory Student Center from 7 p.m. to midnight. Saturday is a deep dive into CSU traditions, starting with the taking of the incoming class spelling out the letters C-S-U. Previous class photos are on display in the Lory Student Center entrance. There will be a RAMbunctious pep rally, an outdoor movie, a chance to swim, play or work out at Night @ the Rec, or take the bus to shop for residence hall supplies at Target.
And the fun doesn’t stop on Sunday. The day after the USA Pro Challenge bike riders finish an exciting stage of America’s Race, CSU will celebrate bicycles on campus. Then there is the traditional hike to the “A” on the hillside above Hughes Stadium and a bash at the Rec before residence hall floor meetings and a chance to get ready for the first day of classes on Monday, Aug. 24.
With all this going on, new students will notice it’s not just the Ram Welcome Leaders who are decked out in Ram gear and available to answer questions and give directions. Almost everyone at CSU – faculty and staff alike – participates in Ram Welcome, by volunteering at information tents, working at various events or just taking the time to talk with students and families that they meet walking around campus. It’s part of the friendly atmosphere that students and parents notice on their first campus visit, and makes them want to become part of the Ram Family.
“What I am most proud of is that it is truly an event that almost everyone at the University takes part in,” Hughes says. “Staff are exhausted when it is over, but we know that it has made a huge difference in campus climate and in how we welcome students to our community.”