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WOW events set to welcome students

Remember your first day away at college? Mom and dad were gone. This was the moment you had been waiting for.

Only one thing stood in your way: the fact that you were really on your own. Who would you have lunch with? Who would walk with you to class?

You weren't the only one asking these questions.

For five years, Husky Weeks of Welcome (WOW) has been anticipating these questions and many others that freshmen have.

"We established the program to welcome new and returning students to campus," says Kevin Fahey, associate director of student activities and union programs, "to encourage them to get the most out of their college experience both academically and socially." Fahey chaired the Husky WOW planning committee for 1997.

This year, Husky WOW will begin August 24, the day residence halls open. Activities for the first week include the third annual freshmen picnic at the Alumni House, a job fair, and social and academic workshops. The opening event, which is open to the entire University community, will take place in Jorgensen Auditorium at 7 p.m. It will feature presentations by President Philip Austin and Chancellor and Provost for University Affairs Mark Emmert, and the full marching band performing the Husky fight song.

Prior to this event, commuter and regional campus freshmen will have an opportunity to socialize with one another at a reception in the Student Union.

"These students are the hardest to reach out to," Fahey says. "They don't have the opportunities that students living on campus have in meeting new people. We're trying to change that for them."

Following the opening event on Sunday will be an ice cream social with music and entertainment on the Student Union patio.

On Tuesday, the traditional University-wide picnic on the Student Union Mall will be preceded by

what Fahey calls an "Academic Connection," when students have the opportunity to meet faculty members at a reception from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. hosted by their school or college.

Fahey hopes this opportunity to meet with faculty early on in a student's college experience will be the start of more extensive interaction between students and faculty, and he encourages faculty to be involved.

Fahey says having the opportunity to get to know a faculty member beyond just saying hello can give a student a mentor or role model: "The more of this we have going on the better education our students will get."

The welcome will extend throughout the month of September as it did last year, culminating with Family Weekend the first weekend of October. September events include a student activities fair on September 10, a football game on September 13 and the third annual UConn Cruises featuring old cars on September 20.

Luis Mocete