Welcome back to campus

08-19-2008

I look forward each year to the week of Fall Welcome at MSU, a time when freshmen come to campus and get moved into their new homes and returning students reconnect with friends and classmates after a summer away. Move-in day is a busy day throughout campus as the nearly 7,300 new freshmen get settled into their new residence hall rooms. I enjoy having the opportunity to visit with them and their families and to help them unload their cars, trucks, trailers, and moving vans. This is truly an exciting time for students, families, faculty, staff, and the entire campus community.

There are many activities throughout the week to help new students get oriented to their new homes-away-from-home and bring our entire Spartan community together as we begin a new academic year. On Tuesday, I will welcome our new faculty members during their orientation, and on Thursday, Senior Associate Provost June Youatt and I, along with other academic leaders, will welcome first-year students to MSU during a ceremony at the Wharton Center. This year’s class of incoming freshmen will represent a diverse and remarkably global group with approximately 47 percent more enrolled international students than last year’s class. The class of 2012 has students representing 79 Michigan counties, 48 states, and 41 foreign countries.

The welcome ceremony also will feature a presentation from and discussion with Benjamin Ajak, co-author of They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, and Judy Bernstein who was instrumental in helping Benjamin, and brothers Benson and Alepho Deng, tell their extraordinary stories in this very moving book. The title is featured in our “One Book, One Community” program for 2008. The program exemplifies the type of community-building efforts we have undertaken together with the city of East Lansing over the past number of years to strengthen the relationship between the city and the university.

Thursday evening provides an opportunity for new and returning students to get together at the Breslin Center to honor Michigan State’s proud history and traditions during Spartan Spirit. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., we will celebrate our Spartan Pride along with Sparty, the MSU Marching Band, community members, and many of MSU’s coaches and student-athletes. For incoming freshmen, this is a great time to learn the words to our storied fight song and the cheers you’ll hear during our many team sporting events all year long.

Fall Welcome is a huge endeavor every year and I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to thank everyone on Team MSU for their efforts—the staff, students, faculty and volunteers who have dedicated much time and energy to make sure our students and new faculty get settled on campus.

I hope you will check this forum frequently to find out what’s on my mind, but also to let me know what’s on yours. At MSU, we are committed to the value of inclusion and to building a welcoming community; we encourage a full spectrum of experiences, viewpoints, and intellectual approaches because it enriches the conversation and keeps us moving forward. I hope you will take the time to share your thoughts about your experiences at MSU and your ideas for this university and its future by emailing me at presmail@msu.edu.

Enjoy your first week on campus and welcome to Team MSU.

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