As Clemson University prepares for the start of the Fall 2021 semester, students are understandably eager for a return to “normalcy” as it relates to their college experience.
Typically, the newest group of Tigers is acclimated to campus life each summer during Orientation and throughout the first week of school in a series of events known as Kick-Off Clemson. And while 2020 was anything but typical, Student Affairs professionals and campus partners are ecstatic about the return of in-person programs and experiences — now identified as Welcome Week — scheduled to begin in conjunction with the first day of move-in on Tuesday, August 10.
“We haven’t had space to bring students together in a year and a half,” said Glenn Spurlin, who serves as Clemson’s director of student transitions. “It’s going to be really good to be back in person.”
For first-year students, the transition from high school to college began over the summer with a virtual introduction by way of course registration and advising. And as Clemson’s largest group of newcomers prepares for campus move-in over the next week, they will soon become thoroughly acquainted with all the University has to offer through in-person Orientation and other programmatic elements.
Students can stop by one of the Orientation check-in locations on campus between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. August 10-12 and pick up materials for in-person Orientation. Included in each packet will be a student’s nametag, lanyard, remainder of the week’s schedule and some free gifts.
This year, Orientation will incorporate elements of New Student Convocation, featuring remarks from President Jim Clements and leaders within student government. Two groups of students will alternate in-person sessions in Littlejohn Coliseum at different times (9 a.m. and 1 p.m.) on Friday, August 13 and Saturday, August 14. Students will then break out into small groups, led by welcome leaders (upperclassmen student volunteers).
Wrapping up the Orientation component this year will be a new initiative known as Clemson Leader Day. Students will return to Littlejohn on Sunday, August 15 with their large groups and alternate sessions at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., where they will be equipped with the tools to be a leader from the start of their time at Clemson.
Graduate students will go through Orientation from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Wednesday, August 11. Transfer students will go through in-person Orientation at 9 a.m. on Monday, August 16.
“From the moment a new student gets to campus, they’ll know exactly where they should be,” Spurlin said. “We will get them focused on academics and leadership opportunities right away and set the table for fun before classes start.”
TRADITIONAL PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
Many traditional elements of the student experience have returned to the Welcome Week schedule. Campus Recreation will host students for a welcome rally inside Fike Recreation Center and on the Intramural Fields from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, August 14. That will be followed by a moonlight breakfast served behind Lever Hall.
Tiger Prowl, Clemson’s largest student organization and involvement fair, is set to be held in Memorial Stadium from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Monday, August 16. Students can explore and connect with extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities with more than 500 organizations.
Clemson Athletics will introduce students to the school’s varsity sport coaches and distribute t-shirts in Littlejohn Coliseum on Tuesday, August 17. Following the event, first-year students will gather at the Paw at midfield of Memorial Stadium for the class photo. A fun afternoon culminates from 12:30-2:30 p.m. on the lawn at Littlejohn with the President’s Cookout.
Classes begin on Wednesday, August 18. One of the things students will notice while navigating main campus is the incorporation of “Ask Me” tables, featuring volunteers among the Clemson faculty and staff.
“We’ll have maps set up for students if they need help finding their way to classes,” Spurlin said. “They’ll need it more than ever this year, knowing we are essentially welcoming two new groups to Clemson. It’s a great opportunity for students to mingle in three areas — Sirrine Hall, Bryan Mall and the North Green amphitheater area.”
Beyond acclimating the newest group of students, several programs and events have been designed specifically for sophomores, graduate students, multicultural groups and student veterans. In addition, evening social programming will be held throughout the opening couple of weeks at the Barnes Center, Union Underground, Hendrix Student Center and Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Complex.
“A student is not forced into anything, but we want to make sure we provide them with plenty of options,” Spurlin said. “We’re confident there will be just that if they’re interested in participating.”