University staff prepare for Week of Welcome

Free snacks available to students Aug. 21 at various dining halls on campus; virtual Fight Song Sing-Along to occur Aug. 23



Joni Ford, assistant director of new student programs, said WoW’s transition online occurred recently.

LOREN NEGRON, Evergreen editor-in-chief

Week of Welcome transitioned to a virtual format this year but will feature new events such as an online Fight Song Sing-A-Long and a virtual resource fair. WoW will continue until Aug. 23.

Kimberly Holapa, WSU associate vice president for external engagement and strategic initiatives, said WoW is an opportunity for students to learn more about WSU’s services and programs. The event is a collaboration between the Office of New Student Programs and the Division of Student Affairs, as well as other campus partners.

The Division of Student Affairs oversees registered student organizations, clubs and intramurals. The division also provides resource information and student services. It has been difficult for the staff to make in-person connections with the students they serve because WoW is online and classes will be delivered via distance learning, she said.

“It’s going to be different this year,” Holapa said. “We’re all adjusting to what this new reality will be.”

Joni Ford, assistant director of new student programs, said the transition to online happened recently. She said she is proud of what she and her colleagues have accomplished in organizing WoW because they did not receive an official notice about the transitional until it was late.

“I’m really excited and proud of the work that we’ve already done to get this going,” Ford said. “It’s really truly been a collaborative effort.”

Jill Creighton, dean of students and associate vice president of Student Affairs, said the Division of Student Affairs will continue to find new ways for engaging with students. She said WoW’s transition to online is an integrative learning process. Each student has different needs, so it is important for the Cougar family to stay connected.

“I think it’s so important for our students, especially our first-year students, to recognize that being a part of WSU is not only your academic career or your undergraduate career but also your holistic identity as a Coug,” Creighton said. “[WoW] is one way that you can start to learn what that might mean for you and start solidifying that.”

University convocation, a ceremony that celebrates the start of a student’s college journey, used to be held in Beasley Coliseum, Ford said. Due to COVID-19, the ceremony will be livestreamed at 10 a.m. Aug. 21.

The event will be hosted by ASWSU President Curtis Cohen. Ford said viewers will have an opportunity to engage with others through the livestream’s group chat.

“Now more than ever, it’s incredibly important we celebrate and come together even if we physically can’t,” she said.

WSU Dining Services’ all-campus picnic transitioned to a campus-wide pop-up picnic, Ford said. Students can get free snacks on Aug. 21 at various dining locations across campus. Those residing in residence halls will receive fresh baked cookies.

Before going to campus to visit a dining location, students need to attest via their myWSU account, according to the Dining Services website. Students must also wear masks and practice social distancing.

On Aug. 21, there will also be a virtual resource fair. The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A list of resource centers that will be participating during the event can be found online, Ford said.

“[The virtual resource fair] gives students the opportunity to learn about resource information, learn how to join clubs and organizations, meet new students, and overall learn about the resources available to them,” she said.

WoW has a new event this year, which is the virtual Fight Song Sing-A-Long. At 7 p.m. Aug. 23, WSU’s Fight Song will be played in Martin Stadium, Ford said.

“We’re just encouraging everyone to basically play the fight song and sing along,” she said. “It’s like having a shared experience when we’re not together.”

Ford is encouraging everybody to record themselves playing the fight song, tag @WSUPullman, and use the hashtags #WSUTogether and #WSUFightSong.

Creighton said the Fight Song Sing-A-Long will be a unique feature for WSU’s incoming class.

“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s livestreams,” she said. “I want to see our Cougs everywhere … coming together for this one shared moment, this one shared experience.”

For this year’s New Coug Photo, Ford said the WSU photo team will create a mosaic of incoming students’ photos. Students can opt in to have their photos included when they upload their photos for their CougarCards. Those who have already submitted their photos can log back into their CougarCard account to opt-in.

Aside from these events, students will also have the opportunity to attend other activities, which are listed on the WoW events calendar page. Ford recommends students log into their Zoom accounts with their WSU username and password prior to attending WoW events.