Although the academic semester has just begun, Huskies have been enjoying campus in the best ways they can throughout the past few weeks. The University of Connecticut has seen many changes to typical Storrs life, from on-campus residents moving in two weeks earlier, to the safety and health regulations preventing many of the social events and interactions that normally welcome students back to school. The “Weekend of Welcome” (WOW) that traditionally greets freshmen to UConn with events like convocation, meet and greets and the class photo, has adapted to COVID-19 restrictions by expanding to “Weeks of Welcome.”
WOW 2020 ran dozens of events from Aug. 14 to 30, with multiple departments and organizations across campus taking part. Most of the events ran online, however many offered ways to participate in person. WOW which normally focuses on acclimating the freshmen class to campus, was able to be enjoyed by students of all years with the various activities. For those looking for entertainment at home and on campus, various game nights were hosted over WebEx, with Harry Potter trivia, bingo and a mind reader making an appearance. The headline event, “A Comedic Conversation with Stephanie Beatriz,” was hosted on WebEx last night to close out WOW for the year.
Throughout the two weeks, the UConn Recreation Center hosted virtual fitness classes for students to follow along in their own rooms. Students were able to register, similar to the process for in-person classes that were held last year, or access the video library of workouts, separated by “Strength,” “Mind Body” and “Cardio” sections. The Rec Center will resume in-person classes on Sept. 8 but the virtual library will still be available for students to access.
The William Benton Museum of Art encouraged students to explore campus – from a safe distance from others – with self-guided art and sculpture hunts, taking students around campus (or virtually, if you are at home) for the chance to win a gift card. The Benton also welcomed students to visit the museum with giveaways of their specially-designed t-shirt for the year. They will be opening two new exhibits for visitors to peruse on Thursday.
UConn Student Activities and Late Night provided a variety of “Grab and Go” kits for students to enjoy, such as a garden globe, succulents, DIY tie dye and a welcome bucket of fun activities. Sign up to pick up the kits helped to ensure less crowding at the Student Union, and many of the items will run out quickly.
Various organizations on campus hosted virtual open houses and panels for students to explore, such as the Rainbow Center, the Honors program, the Cultural Centers, meetings with the deans of the colleges and Commuter Student Services.
An online streaming of convocation and torch lighting ceremony (link to convocation coverage), with speeches from President Thomas Katsouleas, Undergraduate Student Government officers and more managed to make the event special for the class of 2024, welcoming in the new group of Huskies.