SAA turns Welcome Week into Month of Welcome

Posted on Aug 23 2017 - 8:01am by Maddie McGee

Students “Lock the Vaught during the New Student Kickoff Picnic, a part of Welcome Week, held in the Grove on Saturday. Photo by Marlee Crawford

In an attempt to engage more students on campus, the Student Activities Association expanded the traditional Welcome Week into a Month of Welcome with more than 100 activities planned.

Activities include the popular “Ball Pit with Strangers,” a pep rally in the Grove, a silent disco and a rock climbing wall.

“Silent disco is fairly new but extremely popular,” Michelle Nguyen, SAA’s co-director of public relations, said. “We will probably continue that tradition.”

The activities are chosen by SAA’s special events directors, who begin planning during the semester before and into the summer. The team members collaborate with other members of SAA to plan.

“They get input from the rest of executive council,” Nguyen said. “There’s lots of discussion about what will be popular with students. We repeat some things, but others are new.”

Monday’s solar eclipse added a new element to the usual back-to-school activities, with groups like the department of astronomy and the J.D. Williams Library sponsoring events.

In addition to providing activities to help students get acclimated to campus, Month of Welcome also helps students catch a glimpse at groups they can join during their time at Ole Miss at the Get Involved Fair.

“College is a stressful time,” Brady Ruffin, SAA executive director, said. “There’s tons of ways to get involved, whether that’s Greek life, the Associated Student Body or the SAA. We want to provide opportunities for students.”

Campus organizations also benefit from the Get Involved Fair.

Leaders pump up the crowd by dancing during the New Student Kickoff Picnic, a part of Welcome Week, held in The Grove on Saturday. Photo by Marlee Crawford

“Welcome Week is an incredible opportunity for organizations to recruit new members and gain exposure,” Nguyen said.

Because the SAA is a student-led organization, Ruffin said its members feel like they know what types of activities students want to attend.

“Our motto is events for the students, by the students,” Ruffin said. “We want to enhance their college experience.”

SAA coordinates with other on-campus groups like Ole Miss Athletics, the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation to plan the week’s events.

Other events planned for this week include laser tag in the Grove, free doughnuts and a photo booth.

While Welcome Week will culminate at 9 p.m. Friday in the Pavilion with a Wiz Khalifa concert, the SAA has planned other activities, like movies in the Grove and breakfast with the SAA to keep students engaged through the rest of the year. Month of Welcome activities include Creed Week, Pride Camp and Mini Destress Fest.