More changes coming to Wildcat Welcome programming

The Wildcat Welcome board of directors released peer adviser applications last week. The program is moving back to its eight day schedule in 2013.

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The Wildcat Welcome board of directors released peer adviser applications last week. The program is moving back to its eight day schedule in 2013.

Amy Whyte, Reporter

Applications are currently being accepted for peer advisers for Wildcat Welcome 2013, which will implement a number of new programs in an effort to continue improving the transition of incoming classes to Northwestern.

Aside from the addition of a new Mental Health Essential NU orientation program, which the University approved at the beginning of the quarter, several other changes are planned for Wildcat Welcome Week 2013, including both the addition of new programming and the removal of old programming. Serving Communities And Promoting Engagement, a service day freshmen have participated in for the past two years, is being removed from Wildcat Welcome programming to be replaced with a new component that will be announced next month.

“We decided we’d rather focus on getting students oriented to campus and to each other,” said Josh McKenzie, assistant director of New Student and Family Programs. “We can save service for later on.”

The new program will focus on NU traditions and building a sense of community and school spirit. McKenzie said it will take new students off campus to experience a “day of all things Northwestern.”

“Our goal is to really bring everyone together as a community,” McKenzie said. “Not just Medill, not just (School of Communication), but really everyone.”

Another change planned for next year is a return to the traditional eight-day schedule. This past Wildcat Welcome, which ran from Sept. 20 to 26, was shortened due to the later start of the academic year in the University’s observance of Yom Kippur.

“We had to condense it this year because of holidays, and a lot of people felt rushed because of it — new students and PAs,” McKenzie said.

Ian Hendrickson, the Wildcat Welcome director for the Bienen School of Music, said he is “really excited” about getting back to the longer schedule because it gives the board of directors the opportunity to do more with the orientation time.

“We’re really trying to integrate a more holistic approach to Wildcat Welcome,” said the Bienen and Weinberg senior, who was a PA in 2012 and 2010. “Especially with the addition of the Mental Health ENU, to be the first board to work with this is really exciting.”

Additionally, the Office of New Student and Family Programs wants to act as a resource for new students throughout the school year through the creation of a new position, director for first year experience.

“Wildcat Welcome tries to solve the problem of providing a transition to students from high school to Northwestern and for them to feel comfortable here — socially and academically,” McKenzie said. “We know that isn’t solved in seven days. So our big focus for next year is what happens after Wildcat Welcome.”

This year’s PA application process, which includes mandatory attendance at an informational “Call Out Session,” completion of an online application and a series of interviews, will continue through the quarter. Students will find out whether they are invited to move on to the interview round Feb. 22, and final decisions will be announced March 15.

Weinberg freshman Emily Trokey said she wants to apply to be a PA for the upcoming year because her own Wildcat Welcome experience was so positive.

“I got really close to my PA group and my PA,” Trokey said. “My PA actually lives on my floor, and I know that if I have any questions I can always go to her. And I’d like to be able to be that person for an incoming freshman.”

McKenzie said he hopes the changes to Wildcat Welcome will make students’ first exposure as full-fledged NU students more enjoyable.

“It’s a time of excitement and promise about what lies ahead,” McKenzie said. “We’re striving for as close to perfection as possible.”

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