Bulldog Beginnings Welcomes New and Returning Students to a Fresh Start on Campus

BIG RAPIDS – As summer winds down, life on campus will pick up as Ferris celebrates students’ arrival with Bulldog Beginnings Aug. 27 through Sept. 5.

Students can expect a variety of free events and activities such as picnics, disc golf and cornhole tournaments, caricature artists, Chinese acrobats, ice cream socials and a movie in the Campus Quad.

Spanning the course of 12 days, Bulldog Beginnings, formerly known as Welcome Week, gives new students a view of the college lifestyle while preparing returning students for the shift back to campus life.

“During this time, the energy on campus and in the community is fun, relaxed and filled with excitement. We want students to start the beginning of their academic year receiving the same positive messages across campus that speak to making connections with others, becoming familiar with the campus and local community and having a smooth transition to Ferris,” said Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Cairns. “There are many exciting activities designed to help create new memories for students and all involved.”

Teams of students, faculty, staff, administrators and Big Rapids community members work to help new and returning students feel welcome during the beginning weeks of campus life.

“Events on campus and in the community provide an opportunity for students to make important connections with people, on and off campus, who can help create a rewarding college experience while attending Ferris,” Cairns added.

“Each division and college on campus provides support and enthusiastic participants to ensure that Welcome Week events do just that − welcome our students into the Ferris and Big Rapids communities,” Cairns said. “We want our students to understand that they are now a part of a community of people who are serious about helping them achieve success in their classes and other aspects of their new lives here at Ferris State University.”

Offering both entertaining and educational activities, Ferris faculty and staff remain focused on students while coordinating these events.

“We want the students to be excited to start their semester at Ferris, whether it is their first semester or their seventh. Bulldog Beginnings events give students the opportunity to meet new people and create relationships with them. We want the students to have the best first impression of the university as possible,” said Allissa Witucki, interim assistant director for the Student Leadership & Activities Office.

Dating back more than 10 years, Bulldog Beginnings has evolved from merely a few events into the production it is today.

In its infancy, Welcome Week was scheduled for the Sunday before classes and coordinated by Student Leadership & Activities Office, Rankin Student Center and the Vice President for Student Affairs’ Office.

“We were asked to move the events to the Thursday before classes in order to incorporate the Big Rapids’ River Days events,” Witucki said. She added there was the need for coordination after noticing a trend of different offices and departments doing their own separate Welcome Week activities.

Cairns added that “in the spirit of collaboration, a team of Ferris administrators, staff, students, faculty and others involved began to provide programs, activities and events to welcome students in an organized and coordinated fashion.”

Welcome Week was recently renamed Bulldog Beginnings as a result of additional days being added to the schedule.

“Each year this exciting initiation to campus becomes bigger with more people becoming involved in creating and participating in the events,” said Witucki.

“The best thing about welcome week is that everybody is back on campus. You get to see friends and have a good time without having to worry about classes for a few days. Everybody's in a good mood,” said Matt Valleau, a senior majoring in Public Relations in the College of Business. “I'm looking forward to a great week of memories with friends I haven't seen in a long time.”

This year’s itinerary will bring back favorites such as “Meijer Madness” and “Rockin’ in the Rec,” as well as new events including the Golden Dragons Chinese Acrobats.

The Golden Dragon Chinese Acrobats will perform at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 in Ferris State University’s G. Mennen Williams Auditorium. This, along with most events during Bulldog Beginnings, is a free event.

For further information on dates and times of Bulldog Beginnings events, check the campus calendar at http://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/calendar/calendars/calendar.cfm.

26 August, 2009