New Students Introduced to Tech During “Weeks of Welcome”
Aug. 8, 2022
SOCORRO, N.M. – New Mexico Tech freshmen and transfer students will be welcomed in grand style over the first four weeks of the fall semester in a concerted effort to instill a sense of belonging. During the “Weeks of Welcome” Aug. 14 to Sept. 11, new students will be introduced to the campus and the Socorro community, clubs and organizations, traditions and activities, and facilities and resources – all to ensure a successful start to their lives as New Mexico Tech students.
While Tech has long sponsored new student orientations and special activities for freshmen, this year’s month-long Weeks of Welcome is a new and collaborative initiative aimed at establishing a centralized schedule of growth and development co-curricular enrichment opportunities to help new students socialize and be engaged. An evolving schedule of activities is online at guidebook.com/g/nmtwow/ and can be easily downloaded on students’ cell phones through the Guidebook app.
Last spring, Dr. David L. Greene, vice president of the Division of Student Life and chief diversity officer, convened a cross-campus committee that included Academic Affairs, the Office of Research, and Auxiliary Services, and other offices to broaden the focus of the traditional Welcome Week.
“What we know is that students who are engaged within the first four to six weeks tend to stay at the institution until the second year,” he said. “If we want students to be engaged, then we have to make it more than just one week. By spreading it out over those four weeks, we’ve made it possible for them to engage at their level and their spaces.”
Dr. Greene said that when his committee started developing Weeks of Welcome, they zeroed in on three goals:
1. Engender a sense of belonging and that Tech is part of their home now.
2. Introduce tools and resources so that students know how to access and use them.
3. Connect students to clubs and organizations, including activities outside the classroom, that help students find their community of people – whether it’s esports, intramural sports, or the Waffle Club.
“As a STEM institution, it’s a very rigorous curriculum,” he said. “We want students to be able to be successful in the classroom and find balance in themselves at the same time.”
Weeks of Welcome will kick off Aug. 14 with Convocation, a traditional welcome-back-to-campus ceremony. The online guidebook details dozens of other activities and some highlights include: departmental open houses, a community fair, student clubs and organizations showcase, a conga tour of campus facilities and resources, a luau at the swimming center, tours of local hiking sites like Box Canyon and the Magdalena Mountains, library open house, international student orientation, welcome event for American Indian students, ice cream socials, Fresh Check Day featuring mental health and academic assistance resources, and much, much more.
Dr. Greene said that in addition to the Weeks of Welcome events, residence halls will offer programming for the students who live on campus.
“They’ll also do a number of things that help students understand what it is to live with people who aren’t family,” he said. “And also to find some resources there and how to create study groups and other things that help them to continue to be successful.”
Because the start of a new academic year can be overwhelming, Dr. Greene offers this advice to new students: “Get out of the residence hall and check out a few activities.”
“Use the first week to find at least two activities to attend,” he said. “And then hone those other events over the next three weeks based on your major and your specific interests.”
Tech’s Division of Student Life also is hosting the inaugural Parent and Family Weekend Sept. 16 to 18, aimed at providing an opportunity for families of new and returning students to visit their students and experience campus and community life. In addition to the President’s Annual Golf Tournament and other events on campus that weekend, the city is also hosting SocorroFest, which will provide families the opportunity to get to know Tech’s host community through cultural, social, and athletic activities.
“We really want to make sure that people understand that when their student comes to New Mexico Tech, the campus and the community really do come together to support them.,” he said. “We think that’s a good space for parents to be in and see what’s happening.”
Other supports for parents and families are planned, including a parent council and a parent and family newsletter. More information will be available soon on the Division of Student Life page on the Tech website.