Each year, as incoming college freshman take their first steps of adulthood and independence, Shawnee State University welcomes them to campus with the annual Weekend of Welcome (WOW).
WOW is designed to introduce the students to their fellow classmates, college officials, the campus and community. A booked schedule runs in half hour, hourly and extended time increments, constantly providing something for the new students to participate in.
“Many of our students are first-generation college students,” Dr. Rita Morris, Shawnee State University president, said. “Our Weekend of Welcome is one of many ways that our faculty and staff help new students successfully transition to college life.”
Some of the programs are welcoming events, crafts and dining, while others provide more educational information. Some of the more informative classes include topics such as deciding a major, drugs, bettering study habits, alcohol, academic support, sex and more.
The students also have the option to participate in an annual event on Saturday that operates from 1 to 5 p.m., where students go out into the community and give back to local organizations that need volunteers. Some of the locations that will have student volunteers include Shawnee Forest, Sierra’s Haven Animal Shelter, Scioto County Habitat for Humanity, highway cleanup, Salvation Army, Tracey Park, Operation Christmas Child, Minford Soccer Fields, cleanup on the Ohio River bank and more.
SSU will also have a blood drive, blanket making and other various helpful projects going on in the Shawnee State University Center for students who can’t drive around volunteering.
“Service is such an integral part of the student experience that we begin each new academic year with opportunities for new students to assist organizations and agencies within the community during their first few days at Shawnee State University,” Morris said. “These activities not only help our community, they help to build connections with new students that last throughout their years at Shawnee State. Our students live and learn here and have a tremendous impact on our community.”
As an incentive to drive students towards participating in the more educational opportunities, they offer each one valued with a different WOW buck level. These WOW bucks can be spent at their carnival on Sunday. SSU Gives Back provides students with the most awards.
With events going on all weekend, many new students will be out exploring the Portsmouth community, chances are, for the first time, before classes begin Monday, August 18.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.