After a summer of what seemed to be alternating humidity and rain, classes are starting again and with that, Welcome Week festivities. From the Stress Less Fair to OU’s classic GrizzFest, there’s something for everyone.
The Welcome Back to OU All-Day Party kicks off a slew of events on the first official day of classes — Thursday, Sept. 2 — between North and South Foundation Hall. From 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., students can stop by for food and music, and meet various student leaders, faculty and staff.
“It’ll be a fun time for everyone to see each other — some maybe for the first time in a year and a half,” said Jean Ann Miller, Senior Director at the Office for Student Involvement (OSI). “As people are coming to campus, we want to truly welcome them back to the university and welcome new students who are on-campus for the first time.”
Friday, Sept. 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. is the “How to Have a Stress Less Semester” Fair at Elliott Tower. As classes get underway, stress is surely imminent for most students. The fair will give students tips and strategies to manage stressors before the semester heats up.
GrizzFest — OU’s annual involvement fair — will span four days this year instead of one. On Tuesday, Sept. 7, Student Affairs & Diversity/Academic Departments & Offices and Meadow Brook will be set up outside of Elliott Tower, and on Wednesday: Nonprofits, Community Businesses and Preferred Vendors.
“Normally, GrizzFest is very compact — there’s 800-1,000 students in attendance,” Miller said. “[This year], we felt that may be a little daunting and uncomfortable under the [COVID-19] circumstances, so we’re spreading it out over multiple days, and spreading out the tables.”
For the last half of GrizzFest, Student Organizations & Club Sports will take their turn on Thursday, Sept. 9. The four-day fair rounds out with Student Activity Fund Assessment Committee (SAFAC) organizations such as The Oakland Post and WXOU, Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) and remaining Student Organizations on Friday.
Other events taking place around the time of GrizzFest include Student Program Board (SPB’s) Silent Disco on Tuesday, Sept. 7 from 8 – 11 p.m. at Elliott Tower, Mainstage Kickoff with Dueling Pianos on Thursday, Sept. 9 in The Habitat from 7 – 9 p.m. and Student Congress (OUSC’s) S’mores and Pours Bonfire on Friday, Sept. 9.
Miller mentioned the OSI’s goal is to reflect the OU experience.
“It isn’t just going to classes, there’s so much more,” Miller said. “[Welcome Week] gives students the full picture of college life — there is a campus life at OU. It may be different, but we have a great campus life that hopefully students get a feel for at Welcome Week, and then they’ll keep coming back for more.”
For incoming freshman Faith Andrzejewski, the festivities are something to look forward to.
“I’m super excited about Welcome Week — [I’m ready] to meet new people and explore campus more,” Andrzejewski said.
Welcome Week festivities close out on Saturday, Sept. 11 with the “March for Heroes” to honor the 20th anniversary of 9-11, taking place at Elliott Tower from 8:30 to 10 a.m. At the march, participants will walk as many steps as there were in the towers.
Once Welcome Week is over, students can look ahead to Homecoming and Reunion weekend: Oct. 8-9.
For a full rundown of Welcome Week activities, locations and times, visit the 2021 Welcome Week homepage on OU’s official website.