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Welcome back: Students discover connections, place and purpose at WVU

man wearing t-shirt with outline of West Virginia on the back

WVU students prepare for the upcoming academic year starting with Welcome Week Aug. 12-18. Aug. 19, 2019. (WVU Photo/Greg Ellis)

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Following a year of missed traditions and celebrations, West Virginia University will welcome new and returning students to its campus in Morgantown with an array of in-person activities that will allow students to reconnect and find their place and purpose.

Welcome Week is one of my favorite times of year, and this year it’s even more so since we’re not only returning, we’re reuniting,” Dean of Students Corey Farris said. “Our returning students will rediscover the things they love about WVU as our first-year students begin their adventure and learn what it means to be a Mountaineer. New connections will be made and existing ones strengthened as our students build a network of lifelong bonds in the Mountaineer family.” 

Before classes begin Wednesday (Aug. 18), WVU has plans for students to gather and celebrate the new school year throughout Welcome Week, which begins Thursday (Aug. 12) as first-year students begin to move into the residence halls.

“We want our students, especially our new students, to have fun as they come to campus and move into residence halls, but their safety is our ultimate goal,” said University Police Chief Phil Scott. “Patience, being alert and avoiding distractions when driving and crossing the street because of the increased foot and vehicle traffic are good first steps.”

Members of the Class of 2024 will converge at Mountaineer Field in Milan Puskar Stadium from 8-10 p.m. for Sunday Night Lights. During the event, second-year students will have an opportunity watch to the Pride of West Virginia perform its pregame show, hang out with friends and get their official class photo taken in the state of West Virginia.

In a survey sent out earlier this year, a majority of sophomores requested a class photo after Welcome Week activities were canceled last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

First-year students will head to the Stadium for their turn at the popular Welcome Week tradition, Monday Night Lights. This event, set for 8 p.m. Aug. 16, will provide an opportunity for the entire freshman class to gather and learn more about University traditions.

On Tuesday (Aug. 17) at 3 p.m., students are invited to join the WVU Student Recreation Center’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Student Organization Fairs will be held at the Mountainlair Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at the Coliseum during MovieFest from 6-7 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 15), as well as at the Erickson Alumni Center Monday (Aug. 16) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students will vote for their favorite of eight movies next week.

Farris said that WVU is continuing to monitor public health conditions and guidance, as vigilance amid the spread of COVID-19’s Delta variant is and will be important. The University has implemented a vaccination verification process and students have until Aug. 1 to verify their vaccine status. A video tutorial is available; students who receive the vaccination later in the semester should update their statuses.

If 70% of the student body on the Morgantown campus verifies their vaccine status by Aug. 1, the University is committed to holding a larger concert in the FallFest tradition later in the 2021-22 academic year, depending on COVID-19 cases, infection rates and other current public health considerations.

Students who are not fully vaccinated or have not verified their vaccination status by the deadline will be required to submit a valid COVID-19 test result. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days should report the results to Shared Services to be exempt from return to campus testing. Additional guidance for students with positive tests is available on the Return to Campus website.

“Students who are not vaccinated must comply with testing both prior to their return and throughout the semester,” said Dr. Carmen Burrell, director of WVU Medicine Student Health Services and Urgent Care. “WVU is committed to using the tools we know work—masking and physical distancing when our students, faculty and staff feel it is appropriate for them to do so and having a COVID-19 test if symptoms develop.”

Welcome Week will also include a variety of smaller events with food and music, and important information will be offered across campus through Friday (Aug. 20). With the exception of Sunday Night Lights and Monday Night Lights, all Welcome Week events are open to all students and are free of charge.

As Move-In Days wrap up on Saturday (Aug. 14), new students will have the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other while enjoying food, music and games at the Welcome Week Cook-Outs from 6-8 p.m. on the Mountainlair Green and Evansdale recreation fields.

The Mountaineer Parents Club will offer move-in receptions Thursday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the 5th floor of Evansdale Crossing.

To help integrate the cohorts into their new community and promote WVU’s culture of commitment to community service, new students will spend Sunday (Aug. 15) participating in a host of AdventureWV, service and wellness projects in the Morgantown area and beyond.

Honors College students will have any opportunity to volunteer their time on Monday (Aug. 16) and sophomores on Tuesday (Aug. 17).

On Monday (Aug. 16), students will have an opportunity to learn about job opportunities at the Back to School Job Fair beginning at 11 a.m. in the Gold Ballroom of the Mountainlair and enjoy a Game Day BBQ-themed dinner at 5 p.m. in Hatfields, Summit Café and the Evansdale Café.

Visit the 2021 Welcome Week website for the full schedule of events.

-WVU-

ta-pp/7/28/21

CONTACT: April Kaull
Executive Director of Communications
University Relations
304.293.3990;  akaull@mail.wvu.edu

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