students helping

Are you ready for a Rawkin’ UNCG welcome?

Freshman move-in began Aug. 17. About 2,500 incoming freshmen can look forward to a full week of activities on campus.

This year’s Rawkin’ Welcome Week – Friday, Aug. 19- Sunday, Aug. 28 — features extra support from the new SPEARS (Student Peers Encouraging Achievement for Retention Success) peer assistants, an amped-up Freshman Summer Reading Project, and a late-night UNCG-only Target shopping trip.

Rawkin’ Welcome Week is all about connection and engagement, building a campus community.

“Rawkin’ Welcome Week is all about connection and engagement, building a campus community,” says Kim Sousa-Peoples, director of New Student and Spartan Family Programs. “And as part of our First-Year Task Force, we are really ramping up our efforts to assist first-year students.”

About 85 SPEARS, dressed in lime green t-shirts with question marks, will be on-hand Monday, Aug. 22 and Tuesday, Aug. 23, to help new freshman navigate the campus and answer their questions.

SPEARS is a pilot program aimed at improving retention during that critical first year, Sousa-Peoples says, and it should relieve anxiety for those just getting accustomed to campus life. SPEARS mentors will connect with freshman throughout the year, giving them support and directing them to campus resources.

This year’s Summer Read, Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild,” will engage 618 students and 32 faculty members in reading and discussion. The book tells the true story of a wealthy young man who cut his ties to the outside world and disappeared into the Alaskan wilderness, possibly in pursuit of a Thoreau-like nature experience.

Freshman Summer Reading Project partners include Lloyd International Honors College, Summer Launch, Housing and Residence Life’s First-Year Experience initiative, and other learning communities. The number of participants has grown steadily over the years, says Sousa-Peoples, up from just 30 students in 2004. Students will gather in Cone Ballroom, Elliott University Center, at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, to discuss the book.

For students who need to stock up on supplies or decorate their rooms, Target is sponsoring a UNCG-only late-night shopping trip from10:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24. Shuttles will transport students to the Target on Lawndale Drive. Shoppers can enjoy a DJ, giveaways, prizes and coupons.

This is just a sampling of many events scheduled as part of Rawkin’ Welcome Week but you can also access a complete schedule online.

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.

Photography by David Wilson, University Relations