Northwestern extends Wildcat Welcome 2015 to 10 days

Peter Kotecki, Reporter

Wildcat Welcome will be extended to a 10-day program this fall, running from Sept. 11-20 for the Class of 2019 and new transfer students.

The orientation program was eight days long in 2014 and 2013, and seven days long in 2012.

“There was a lot of conversation, a lot of different options, about when we could start and end,” said Patricia Hilkert, director of New Student and Family Programs.

New students will move in Friday, Sept. 11. Instead of participating in March Through The Arch the following morning, first-year students will travel to Ryan Field for a home football game, Hilkert said.

Daniel MacKenzie, assistant director of NSFP, said Wildcat Welcome is a well-regarded experience that has been improving steadily from year to year.

“We want to make sure that students are transitioning well so we are going to provide programming that whole time,” he said.

Hilkert said the University cannot hold required events during Rosh Hashanah, which will take place in the middle of Wildcat Welcome this year. Once the holiday ends, NU will hold academic advising appointments and Essential NUs. This year Wildcat Welcome officials will revise the alcohol education ENU, Hilkert said.

“We are going to rework the whole thing and make it different, so hopefully it will be more widely accepted,” she said.

Events such as Night at Target and a trip to Six Flags Great America are expected to return for Wildcat Welcome, Hilkert said. In addition, NSFP has planned two performance nights featuring a cappella groups, the Boomshaka show Rhythm Nation and a comedy show. Students will have the opportunity to watch more than one group, which is different from past years, she added.

Though Hilkert said organizers were concerned the new length of Wildcat Welcome would discourage students from applying to be Peer Advisors or Family Ambassadors, she believes applicants are aware of the commitment. She added the program will include more time for breaks than previous years.

McCormick junior Evan Rosati, a member of the Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors, agreed with Hilkert about the expected number of PA and FA applications.

“I don’t think it will affect the number or quality of applications that we’re going to get,” he said. “It is only a couple more days, and I think people are more concerned about helping new students and the experience that they can give back to Northwestern.”

Hilkert said NSFP hopes to get student groups involved in a Wildcat Welcome event, which has not been scheduled yet, on North Beach or the Lakefill. Organizers also want to further involve residence halls in the program.

“We are hoping to incorporate more activities with the residence halls and the RAs throughout Wildcat Welcome,” Hilkert said. “We really need their support, especially because it is a longer schedule, and we really want our students to connect with where they’re living, so hopefully we will be able to do more with them.”

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