Class of 2017 to travel to Millennium Park for Wildcat Welcome

Director of the First Year Experience, Joshua McKenzie, announces the addition of a Wildcat Welcome Day at Millenium Park. The event is slated to open Wildcat Welcome in 2014.

Melody Song/Daily Senior Staffer

Director of the First Year Experience, Joshua McKenzie, announces the addition of a Wildcat Welcome Day at Millenium Park. The event is slated to open Wildcat Welcome in 2014.

Amy Whyte, Reporter

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This fall, the class of 2017 and transfer students will head downtown to participate in a new component of Wildcat Welcome.

Josh McKenzie, director of the first year experience, announced Thursday night that immediately after the March Through the Arch, new students will board buses to Millennium Park for a day of “purple pride.” The announcement was made during the first all-staff meeting for the incoming group of peer advisers.

The day at Millennium Park will include visits from prominent campus figures, including members of the athletic department and likely University President Morton Schapiro, McKenzie said.

“We’ll be doing some fun photo shoots with the Bean,” he said.

This new program is part of a series of changes that the Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors are instituting this fall. Twenty-five students will serve as “family ambassadors,” a new position that is meant to facilitate parents and other family members during Wildcat Welcome.

“These people will be the go-to people for parents,” said Andrew Christy, a Weinberg junior who works for New Students & Family Programs.

Other changes include a new mental health Essential NU, which will be implemented this year. Serving Communities and Promoting Engagement, the freshman-wide service day known as SCAPE, is being removed after two years of implementation. McKenzie said the new programming in Chicago would give students a better opportunity to get to know each other and NU’s resources.

Weinberg freshman Scott Olsen said the new programming sounds like an improvement over SCAPE. Olsen, whose service activity was picking up trash at the Cook County Forest Preserve, said the experience was “worthless.”

“The bus got lost on the way there and then we didn’t have enough garbage bags, so we spent more time getting there and coming back than we did actually picking up garbage,” Olsen said.

Like SCAPE, the new programming will also be taking students off campus, but instead of completing service projects, students will be “getting acquainted with themselves” and NU traditions, McKenzie said.

Weinberg junior Tom Bielawiec, who will be a first-time PA this year, said the announcement was exciting.

“It’s cool because it’s going to introduce students to a new sense of community,” Bielawiec said.

The Board of Directors will be spending Spring Quarter planning and organizing this new component of Wildcat Welcome.

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the new Wildcat Welcome venue in Chicago. The Daily regrets the error.

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