Eastern Oregon University > Events > Cultivating community during a pandemic

Cultivating community during a pandemic

Cultivating community during a pandemic

students in masks jumping

August 10, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Week of Welcome provides an opportunity for incoming Eastern Oregon University students to become familiar with their peers in a fun environment that doubles as their orientation to a new school. The freshmen who attend this event get a head-start on building meaningful new relationships before they enter the classroom. 

EOU plans to hold Week of Welcome (WOW) Sept. 19 to 22. This year’s orientation is packed with fun events that prioritize the safety of students and everyone participating.  

Many of the activities are planned to take place outdoors on EOU’s main campus in La Grande. New precautions have been put in place, such as wearing face-coverings and hand sanitizer stations placed throughout the campus. 

WOW has a signature feel at EOU and that energy will not be lost during this event. Director of Student Success and Transition Kathryn Shorts, who coordinates the annual orientation week, said students can expect an engaging line-up of outdoor activities. 

“We will basically have the same large-scale events, we‘re just going to spread them out,” she said. “We’re going to take over the campus and will be outside a lot.” 

Shorts also said students will spend more time in their teams, allowing each of the 10 groups to build lasting connections with their peers, one of the event’s primary goals. Students become familiar with the campus culture and connect with staff so they can better navigate resources during the school year. 

WOW Leader Emily Gluch will mentor a group of freshmen and guide them throughout the week. Now a senior, she said WOW has been an important part of her college career.

“WOW week has impacted my college experience by networking with faculty and the president of the university,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to navigate the campus and meet new faces.”

Several new events will be introduced to accommodate the special circumstances the pandemic has brought to this year’s WOW. Shorts has added an outdoor movie night and other activities that make the most of wide-open spaces. Careful planning has taken place to make sure all students participating will be in a safe environment that puts their health first. 

“Students will still get an opportunity to make new friends on their teams and meet people at different activities,” Shorts said. “I’m just really encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone and wanting them to understand that in order to participate they’re going to have to wear a mask.” 

Registration is open now. For more information and to sign up visit eou.edu/wow

By PR Intern Emily Andrews