Western Michigan University flagpoles

The flagpoles at the center of Western Michigan University's main campus in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

For incoming students, Fall Welcome Week is an opportunity to get acquainted with Western Michigan University’s campus and to make friends. This year is no exception, though things are looking a little different from previous years.

“One of the things we always want to do during Fall Welcome is to make students feel like they have a place here and people here and that they’re part of a family,”said Emma Gietek, Fall Welcome's assistant project manager.“We are really trying to make sure that stays the same this year.”

Previously Fall Welcome took place completely in-person with large gatherings. All-first year students were required to attend.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Fall Welcome leaders are determined to create an experience that allows for familiarity with the campus as well as the safety of students. Fall Welcome will take place with a mixture of in-person and online opportunities.

WMU is operating under safety guidelines set by both the university and the state of Michigan. This includes wearing a mask and social distancing.

To comply with safety measures, groups will be capped at fifteen members and all large events will be virtual. Additionally, masks will be required at all times.

“This year in particular, Fall Welcome is the bridge between move-in and classes,” Gietek said. “We set it up so that students have an understanding of the expectations for the fall.”

Fall Welcome will also include Wellness Trivia this year, which will be put on with Sindecuse Health Center. After Dark Activities, like glow-in-the-dark bowling, will also be added. These activities will be held in smaller groups in place of the usual large gatherings.

“One of the things we believe in are After Dark opportunities that cater more to interests that allow students to meet people with similar interests as them,” Gietek said.

Incoming students are encouraged to take advantage of these events and find their place on campus.

“Even though the world looks a little different there is still an opportunity for connection,” Gietek said.

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