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Welcome Weekend activities orient new students to community, campus

| Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Over the past three days, Notre Dame welcomed first year and transfer students to the University over its annual Welcome Weekend. The weekend, which includes both University-wide events and dorm-specific programming, offers new students a chance to get oriented and acclimated to life at Notre Dame.

Maggie O’Connor, a first year in Pasquerilla West Hall, said she enjoyed meeting people during Welcome Weekend, including people in both her dorm and her classes.

Photo courtesy of Chris Hayden
Dunne Hall residents pose with candles before the Class of 2022 visited the Grotto for the first time. The Grotto visit concluded Welcome Weekend, when first year and transfer students are welcomed to campus.

“I’d feel lost if I didn’t know anyone in my classes because that’s what I was worried about,” she said.

As part of the Pasquerilla West Welcome Weekend activities, O’Connor said she participated in a pancake breakfast, crafts and ice skating with other dorms. Her favorite activity was karaoke with Keenan Hall, and she also enjoyed serenading other dorms.

“I really liked all the activities, especially learning all the songs and traditions,” she said. “I think it’s really fun to serenade people.”

Keegan O’Toole, a sophomore transfer student, hasn’t been assigned a dorm yet but still enjoyed participating in the welcome activities.

“I didn’t do anything dorm-related, but it was still good in terms of knowing the traditions of Notre Dame,” she said.

Some of the activities O’Toole participated in included DomerFest, a stadium tour, registering for classes, a bonfire, a scavenger hunt and an engineering information session.

“For transfers, we do pretty much every event the freshmen do,” she said.

O’Toole said her favorite part of Welcome Weekend was meeting people, but she would want to be able to participate more with something dorm-related, even though she does not currently live on-campus.

“I know dorm life is a really big thing here, and I know I’m not on campus, but I’d like to do more associated with that,” she said.

For the Welcome Weekend captains and ambassadors, the three days present an opportunity to start to form the first-year community, sophomore and Howard Hall Welcome Weekend ambassador Mary Lynn Dekold said.

“When I was a first year, I loved Welcome Weekend,” she said. “I thought it was a great way to introduce me to the Notre Dame community, get me acclimated to campus — I met tons of good people. Now working it, you see if from a whole different perspective.”

Dekold said planning for Welcome Weekend started during spring semester last year.

“It takes a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it,” she said.

Howard Hall‘s programming included events with other dorms, such as a cookout with Sorin College, Siegfried Hall and Farley Hall and a scavenger hunt with Carroll Hall. The ambassadors also hosted small group discussion time.

Junior Chris Hayden, a captain from Dunne Hall, said his planning involved coordinating with other dorms as well as general brainstorming. He said Dunne used lots of small groups so students could get to know each other.

“We were trying to really think about how we could create an experience for freshmen to interact with one another in a comfortable, non-awkward way,” he said.

Hayden said the Dunne Welcome Weekend team was very enthusiastic and wanted to make sure the first-year students felt at home, even when moving in.

“Whenever a new car would pull up, we had guys banging on the moving bins, we had yelling, and whenever the first years came out we would have guys go up and introduce themselves,” he said. “They really took the words to heart that we were told in our training. They said, ‘it’s not about you, it’s about the first years.’”

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About Alexandra Muck

Alexandra Muck is a Notre Dame senior majoring in business and economics. Originally from Dallas, she currently lives in Howard Hall.

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