For officials at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster the solution to that problem was simple.
Inject a little fun into the process.
According to Rhonda Billman, ATI assistant director, the 350 new students the university welcomed to the Wooster campus were greeted with a whole host of activities specifically designed to introduce the students to life on campus and in the Wooster community before classes officially got underway Sept. 21.
The activities began with a new event held on the day the new students arrived on campus for the first time Sept. 18.
“On new student move in day we invited parents to stay and at 4 p.m. we had a picnic as a final send off for the parents,” said Billman.
During the picnic families had the opportunity to meet the ATI directors and relax a bit after a long day of driving and lugging boxes.
It also helped alleviate some of the unease that comes along with the unknown not only for the students but for the parents as well.
“About 60 percent of our students on this campus are first generation college students so it’s all new to everybody – students and parents,” said Billman.
The event was a resounding success.
“Parents seemed to really appreciate it,” said Billman, noting that more than 630 students and family members accepted the invitation to the picnic.
During the two days that followed the students participated in a wide variety of activities designed to introduce the students to campus life in a fun way.
In addition to spending time in the newly renovated Student Activity Center playing dodge ball and line dancing, students also participated in a series of games to help them navigate their way around campus and learn more about the services offered by the university.
The students took part in a scavenger hunt to become more familiar with the campus layout, a game of Pictionary to help them learn more about the clubs and organizations on campus, a Family Feud game to learn about safety and campus security and a Jeopardy style game “to learn a little bit more about academic deadlines within the university,” Billman noted.
“We tried to make it really fun” said Billman.
On the day before classes officially got underway ATI also sponsored a picnic featuring frisbee golf, sponge tag, cornhole and even a giant slip and slide featuring scarlet and grey paint.
During the picnic the students were also invited to learn more about the local cuisine by taking part in Sample Wooster.
Through Sample Wooster students were given the opportunity to partake of the local fare from Donatos Pizza, Hartzler Dairy, TJ’s, Henry Station and BW3, who were on hand to offer free samples and coupons to introduce the students to their menu offerings.
First year students weren’t the only ones taking part in the Welcome Days activities.
“Last year’s incoming class got a little cheated out of Welcome Days because of the tornado,” said Billman, noting that last year the students moved on to campus on a Tuesday and immediately started classes on the following day “so we didn’t have much of a welcoming event.
“We are really hoping that those students participate in these activities and that they enjoy it as much as everybody else,” Billman stated.
For more information on the program offerings at Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster log on to http://www. ati.osu.edu.
Published: September 28, 2011