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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


New welcome for UA freshmen

Brittney Smith
Brittney Smith / The Daily Wildcat The New Student Convocation took place on the UA Mall on Aug. 24, 2014. President Ortega spoke at the New Student Convocation.

For the first time in UA history, the New Student Convocation was held outdoors on the UA Mall on Sunday.

In previous years, the ceremony was held in McKale Center, but because that site was unavailable due to its current renovations, the university had the opportunity to try something different.

“Normally, we use McKale and have a more academic ceremony with the deans,” said Kasey Urquidez, associate vice president for Student Affairs and the dean of undergraduate admissions.
“This year the deans were more in favor of us trying something new, too, just to make it a little more festive with the traditions, and … that excitement about starting classes the next day, so we did it on the Mall.”

The New Student Convocation is the official welcome for all incoming freshmen.

“The purpose [of the ceremony] … is to be able to help students just to understand what it means to be a Wildcat,” Urquidez said. “We want them to know about traditions, we want them to know the academics, so we try to pull all that together in one night as the official welcome to the University of Arizona.”

An outdoor celebration, the convocation took a more casual approach this year, inviting students to lay blankets on the Mall and enjoy free food and drinks. The first 1,350 students in line were served eegee’s. Various UA organizations were present with informational booths, such as the Student Recreation Center, the Student Alumni Ambassadors and the Freshman Class Council. The Cheer Team, poms and Pep Band were in attendance to lead thousands of students in chanting the UA cheer and fight song, as well as show students other Wildcat traditions.

“I was expecting it to be very boring and sitting down, listening to people talk, but it’s not,” said Madison Meyer, a pre-business freshman. “It’s better than I expected.”

The president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, Issac Ortega, hosted the event. His biggest advice for all new incoming students is to get involved.

“Tonight my main message is really just being ready for school, whether it be academics or getting to know the professors,” Ortega said. “Just being holistically ready the entire year, because your freshman year is super critical in what you do when you start. … It’ll shape the rest of the time in college.”

Students watched a short film that taught them about UA traditions and the UA community from two large screens on both ends of the Mall. The clips involved characters Bobby and Alex trying to save Wilbur and Wilma from a mysterious villain. “They’re a little bit cheesy, but the message behind them is really cool,” Ortega commented about the videos.

Throughout the ceremony, students were invited to involve the event in social media and tweet photos using #WildcatReady and @WildcatReady.

“[The UA] has a lot of events like this so far that are really welcoming and awesome,” said Kaylee Nelson, an undeclared freshman.

Follow Jocelyn Valencia @_JocelynV_

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