With thousands of incoming Bruins moving into their new homes this week, organizations from across campus have worked all summer to bring them a welcome to remember.
UCLA’s True Bruin Welcome 2011 will kick off on Sunday with Bruin Bash, a concert featuring Major Lazer and Childish Gambino, among other performers. From there, a series of campus events will introduce students to aspects of the school’s culture and values.
Before classes begin on Thursday, students will have the opportunity to engage with nearly 500 student groups at the Enormous Activities Fair and gather with their peers for a barbecue, following an introduction by campus leaders including Chancellor Gene Block and student body president Emily Resnick.
“I encourage all students to get involved,” Resnick said. “We can all attest to the truth that the more you put into this school, the more you will get out of it.”
Between scheduled events, individual groups including Greek organizations and residence halls will hold their own programs.
“These events are opportunities to meet people, and for returning students, it’s a great way to reconnect with people you haven’t seen all summer,” said Kenn Heller, associate director of the Center for Student Programming. “All the programs fit together in a purposeful way.”
While traditional events have remained relatively the same, UCLA hopes to facilitate students’ campus exploration through an exapnded UCLA mobile site, which will provide schedules for each day’s events, as well as information about every student group on campus, Heller said.
The mobile application, first introduced last year, will also help new students navigate the campus using a geocentric map that can identify their locations and lead them to specific destinations in real time, he added.
“We’re trying to do a lot with UCLA mobile because in the end result, it is the most convenient way to get information,” Heller said. “We promoted it heavily during summer orientation.”
Tuesday marks UCLA’s third annual Volunteer Day, which will carry 6,800 incoming freshmen and transfers on 140 buses to 27 locations for a day of service work. The goal of Volunteer Day is to emphasize UCLA’s commitment to serving its community as a public university, said Antoinette Mongelli, executive director of the UCLA Volunteer Center.
For the first time, organized efforts will also include participation from students, faculty and staff from graduate schools. The Anderson School of Management and the School of Public Health will combine their programs with the undergraduates’ through their own Volunteer Day on Tuesday, Mongelli said.
While the number of people, activities and organizations can be overwhelming at first, it is important that students are exposed to the opportunities early, said Daniel Soto, campus events commissioner for the undergraduate student government.
“(UCLA) is very diverse and eclectic, and there’s something for everyone,” Soto said. “But you have to go out and find it.”
First-year geography studies student Sean Stevens said he plans on attending almost all of the Welcome Week activities and is especially looking forward to Bruin Bash and the dance.
The new Bruin plans on scouting the Enormous Activities Fair for clubs to join and has his mind set on working for UCLAradio.com.
And with his move-in date being only two days away, Stevens said he is anxiously awaiting the start of his college career.
“I don’t know what to do with myself for the next two days,” he said Thursday. “There’s nothing to do except think about how much fun the next year will be.”