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Welcome Weekend wows freshmen and orientation leaders

Welcome Weekend always consists of a freshmen class photo on the tundra at Ohio Northern University's campus. (photo/ONU Facebook)

Welcome Weekend always consists of a freshmen class photo on the tundra at Ohio Northern University's campus. (photo/ONU Facebook)

Ohio Northern University's Welcome Weekend [from August 18-21] could be described in many ways, but many of those randomly questioned students settled concisely with “busy.” If you were in attendance to Welcome Weekend in the slightest, you probably said or heard someone introducing himself/herself and sharing an “interesting fact” that is typically incredibly difficult to come up with in a new setting.

For incoming freshmen, the weekend was a jam-packed, somewhat chaotic schedule filled with mixers and informational seminars. On the other hand, for the upperclassmen Orientation Leaders [OLs], it was an even busier weekend of keeping the activities straight. On a side note, throughout the schedule, activities introduced the incoming freshmen to the wonderful aspect of college that many seem to ignore: free things.

Freshmen arriving on campus during the weekend knew maybe a handful of current students, yet through a lengthy list of events, everything from meeting OLs and groups before Playfair to dancing in a giant vat of soapy foam, friendships began to form. Everyone expected a lot of fun and a full schedule, but overall, no one expected it to be that busy.

“It seemed a little overwhelming with everything else going on,” admitted freshman pharmacy student Alli Reiman. “Surprisingly, I could relax, though, because it was a really laid-back, fun environment for me.”

As for the busiest event during Welcome Weekend, it would have definitely been Welcome Fest, an annual event in which every campus organization came together to present their organizations and to dole out free things. Interested or not, who doesn’t love a free t-shirt?

Meeting people and making friends was definitely crucial to many of the incoming freshmen, but learning about the campus was just as important. Through a photo scavenger hunt, freshmen explored as far north of campus as the recently opened Cosi at Northern, and as far back as the Kroger self-serve machine.

“I’m from Ada, so I knew a lot about the campus,” freshman pharmacy major Katey Stuart explained. “It was definitely nice though learning exactly where to find everything, even the things I wasn’t familiar with.”

Nearly everyone discovered a new location on campus, something that will prove incredibly useful during the academic school year. 

Although it wasn’t their first Welcome Weekend, for the Orientation Leaders, it was definitely their most intense experience. 

“To be an OL, you need to come out of your shell,” fourth-year pharmacy student Tyler Davis noted. “It is fun to see all the new students go from uncomfortable to knowing they found their place.”

It appeared to most of the OLs, helping students feel welcome to ONU was their main priority. This mindset rang true for sophomore pharmacy major Zach Bragg, another OL who felt that Welcome Weekend was his “favorite thing ever” during his freshman year.

“My goal was to make Welcome Weekend as enjoyable as possible for this class,” Bragg mentioned. “It was so that they would feel like I did during mine.”

Welcome Weekend was a spectacular experience for each individual involved, whether it was a new freshman or an OL. The memories will definitely outlast the school year, and potentially many Welcome Weekends in the future. 

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