Okay, new freshmen. You’ve hauled your stuff into the residence hall. The family has headed home. So Rawk it out!

UNCG’s Rawkin’ Welcome Week is just the thing to help you make connections, build new friendships, and learn the campus ropes. Rawkin’ Welcome Week kicks off Friday, Aug. 17 and ends Sunday, Aug. 26. Events include discussion of this year’s First-Year Summer Read, Doc Hendley’s “Wine to Water”; an after-hours shopping trip to Target; and extra help from the Spartan SPEARS.

Dr. Kim Sousa-Peoples, director of New Student and Spartan Family Programs, says the annual celebration represents a “holistic approach to starting at UNCG,” focusing on academic readiness, social integration, and wellness.

Hendley, a Raleigh bartender and author of “Wine to Water,” learned about the shortage of clean water in countries like the Sudan and dreamed up an innovative way to help. The result is Wine to Water, a nonprofit organization that provides clean water around the world partly through wine sales.

If you signed up for First-Year Summer Read, join in the discussion of “Wine to Water” Saturday, Aug. 18, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in Cone Ballroom, Elliott University Center. Faculty members will facilitate discussion.

Hendley, who describes himself as “a regular, rough-and-tumble guy who loves booze, music and his Harley,” will speak at 7 p.m., Sept. 12, in Aycock Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public; a book signing follows the presentation.

Sousa-Peoples says about 1,000 seats will be set aside for students who want to hear Hendley, a Greensboro native.

“He connects with students,” she says. “He’s laid-back, young and hip. Plus I believe students will enjoy reading and hearing about such a real-world experience, learning from someone who actually went out and did something.”

Wednesday, Aug. 22, is Target Back to College Night. Students can pile onto large buses supplied by Target starting at 10:30 p.m. for a round-trip to the Lawndale Drive store. Buses will load on Stirling Street in front of Elliott University Center.

Sousa-Peoples says last year’s Target Back to College Night, the first for UNCG, drew a huge response. “It was insane and highly entertaining. The buses just kept coming. Students were pushing each other in shopping carts and riding bikes around the store.  The students had fun having the store all to themselves.”

Freshmen needing help navigating campus as classes kick off should look for the Spartan SPEARS, upperclassmen in lime-green t-shirts with question marks. SPEARS is a new initiative that provides guidance and mentoring for new freshmen with a goal of increasing retention during that critical first year.

Rawkin’ Welcome Week takes its name from the large rock, better known as “The Rawk,” located near the Jackson Library tower. It was brought to campus in 1973 to serve as a message board. Tradition dictates that messages must be left up for 24 hours before students can paint over them.

This is just a sampling of many events scheduled as part of Rawkin’ Welcome Week.  Get the complete schedule online.

Photography by David Wilson, University Relations