Campus Life springs into action for the fall semester

Posted on 16 September 2015 by admin

Welcome Week Activities range from games to educational opportunities

meramec welcome weekBy: Tyler Fuson
Staff Writer

STLCC– Meramec students were exposed to new activities during Welcome Week where teachers and club leaders collided. Campus Life Director Carolyn O’Laughlin, Academic Support Leader Cindy Clausen, and Campus Life employee Sanela Mesic collaborated to put the event together.

“We wanted students to feel welcome here, to meet other students and to be introduced to resources to help them be successful,” O’Laughlin said. “To do that, we wanted to include student input.”

The idea for Welcome Week came after the First Year Experience (FYE) conference in Dallas, Texas where teachers and staff from various universities throughout the state tried to address new ways to greet new students in an exciting way. Vice President Kim Fitzgerald put herself, O’Laughlin and Mesic on the map for the event, Clausen said.

“She’s the one who told us to plan it and she’d make sure we had funds to support it,” Clausen said.

The week’s highlights included music, dancing, snacks and games such as juggling where students were greeted by both faculty and staff.

Each club had their own table where they could recruit new members. The student workers provided snacks and controlled the playlist.

Students also provided a lot of input into incorporating the elements into Welcome Week, O’Laughlin said.

“For example, we were originally going to call them [the students who worked at the events] the Spirit Squad,” O’Laughlin said. “But they said, ‘We don’t like that name; call us the CREW.’”

Despite the fun and playful atmosphere that washed over the campus throughout the week, both Sanela Mesic and Cindy Clausen made it clear that the events were more than just a fun day at the park.

“This was about making connections with friends, and staying in college,” Mesic said.

On a commuter campus students often go to class together and leave; they go to work, they go home to wherever, Clausen said.

“Having the events on the campus was a way to inspire students to connect with one another,” Clausen said.

A small group of students, each one of them from a different country, met each other on the day after Spirit Day and played a soccer game every day of that week, Clausen said. They made friends because they managed to bond with each other over an activity that they enjoyed.

“When you have a friend in the class, you don’t want to cut that class; you want to show up for your friend,” Clausen said. “You have a stronger commitment to stick with it and achieve common goals.”

Welcome Week was designed to teach others about both friendship and persistence despite music, games and outdoor activities, Clausen said.

“Even though it’s been all fun and games these past few days, we hope that by students building connections with each other and the faculty and staff, they’ll be encouraged to keep trying when things get harder,” Clausen said.

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