The first week of classes is met with both excitement and anxiety for most. But the first week also brings on a series of events geared toward engaging students in the USF community. While the Week of Welcome (WOW) during fall semester includes numerous campus traditions, the spring semester doesn’t offer as many staples.
“Fall has more signature events,” Keri Riegler, Director of New Student Connections & Parent and Family Programs said. “In spring we’re looking to be more creative.”
For instance, fall semester WOW starts off with a kick-off party and balloon drop, and the Round Up comedy show that’s been a tradition since 2011, while spring semester doesn’t have as many campus traditions.
Whereas fall semester WOW is focused more on getting students excited for the upcoming football season, spring semester WOW is more about basketball, which has a game Wednesday.
One way the spring WOW is changing this year is with the inclusion of small interest groups, which Riegler said is meant to help students find others who share similar interests with them. These groups have been used in the fall, but this is the first year they will be used during the spring.
Additionally, this year New Student Connections will be organizing Meet and Go groups prior to events. Riegler said these groups are so that students who would like to go to an event but would otherwise be going alone could find others who are going.
This is another event that’s seen success during the fall semester, but is being implemented into spring WOW for the first time.
The spring semester’s main tradition is the Stampede of Service, which takes place at the end of the week and serves as both wind down of WOW festivities and kicks off Martin Luther King week. According to Riegler, there’s already over 2,000 participants signed up for this year’s Stampede of Service.
Since the spring WOW is certainly different, it also appears to draw in a different crowd. The spring WOW brings in more international students, according to Riegler, and students who just took some time getting settled in college before looking to get engaged.
“I’m not sure there’s a significant attendance decrease, it’s about who’s attending,” Riegler said.