It's Time for Bulldog Welcome Week
UMD Activities Assist Incoming Freshmen
The University of Minnesota Duluth kicks off the 2013-14 academic year with Bulldog Welcome Week from Thursday, Aug. 29 through Monday, Sept. 2. Classes begin on Sept. 3.
When UMD’s residence halls open at 8 am on Thursday, Aug. 29, first-year students will begin the process of moving in with the support of the campus community. Each student joins a "Rock Group" of 15–18 new freshmen, which is led by a student leader called a RockStar. More than 2,100 freshmen are expected to arrive on campus this school year.
The Bulldog Preview Barbecue is the first activity where freshmen join other new students and RockStars at a football scrimmage in Malosky Stadium.
New students will be formally welcomed by UMD Chancellor Lendley C. Black at a convocation event beginning at 3:30 pm in UMD's Romano Gym. A pep rally showcasing student athletes and the Marching Band follows the convocation.
Improvisational comedy, a mentalist show, a boat ride on Lake Superior, a visit to the historic estate Glensheen, a bike ride, a nature hike, and indoor rock climbing are on the program. Sessions to orient students to classes and the campus are also planned.
Some new events for 2013 include a move-in day concert featuring the band featuring Saint Anyway from 9–11 pm on Thursday, sponsored by Duluth mayor and UMD alumnus Don Ness. Sunday brings the "Duluth Rocks" event with new destinations including Adventure Zone (laser tag and game arcade), Vertical Endeavors (rock climbing walls), and the Duluth Yacht Club, which is providing sailing opportunities.
Welcoming Families to Campus
Student groups have started a new tradition on Move-In Day. Dressed in maroon and gold, they stand along College Street, waving to cars and giving directions. “We want to demonstrate the friendly and positive community of UMD to new students as they move in,” said UMD senior Hannah Maertz. Maertz is the student intern for the UMD Women's Resource Action Center. She said the smiles of the students and the “Welcome to UMD” signs that line College Street send a positive message.
Bulldog Week Interns, Behind the Scenes
Bulldog Welcome Week is on a six-year roll as a wonderful experience for incoming freshmen. Behind the scenes are three hardworking interns: Cassie Thielen, a junior math major; Ali Michie, a senior early childhood studies major; and Bridget Kirby, a senior elementary and special education major.
"Welcome Week is a transition time," said Thielen. "It is part summer fun and part getting used to being a college student." Achieving just the right mix of activities has been part of the challenge. Through this internship, these women have learned many things that they might not have learned in the classroom: professionalism, self-confidence, adaptability, flexibility, and persistence.
“Cassie, Ali, and Bridget run every aspect of the week,” says Jen Doebler, director of Bulldog Welcome Week. “They have spent all summer putting everything together.”
“I learned how to be open minded,” said Kirby. “In my classes I learn how to work with little kids, but this internship has taught me how to reach out and communicate with people my own age and older.”
While organizing the events can be stressful at times, the fun always rules.
“Getting to see Bulldog Welcome Week unfold has been great,” said Michie. “All the stress was worth it and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m jealous of who gets to do it next year.”
The interns all started as a RockStars, and they each say their years assisting with Welcome Week inspired them to take on greater roles for the 2013 Bulldog Welcome Week. These three women and the 135 RockStars make this one of the most memorable weeks of a UMD student’s college career.
Story by Rosy Bray and Cheryl Reitan, August, 2013