The action won’t stop for the University of Virginia’s newest students once they settle into their dorms this week.
The University and the student-run University Programs Council have put together weeks of orientation, educational and social activities to help welcome members of the Class of 2025 and transfer students, and it’s called Wahoo Welcome.
The centerpiece is Sunday’s Opening Convocation ceremony. Actually, there will be two ceremonies on the Lawn this year, one for the Class of 2025 at 6 p.m. and the other at 1 p.m. for the Class of 2024, which did not have a ceremony last August because of the pandemic.
Both ceremonies are mandatory and are the official welcome to UVA, concluding with each student signing UVA’s honor code and promising not to lie, cheat or steal. Students will be seated facing the Rotunda, where President Jim Ryan will offer welcoming remarks along with other University and student leaders.
The Class of 2025 is also invited to President Ryan’s First-Year Fun Run and Walk, a 1.85-mile jaunt around Grounds, followed by snacks and mingling. Students must bring their IDs and are strongly encouraged to bring their own water bottles.
The event begins Sunday at 7:45 a.m. at Observatory Hill Field, just across the street from Scott Stadium, UVA’s football facility. Registration is strongly encouraged.
Friday evening there will be a huge, new event for students at Scott Stadium called “Welcome to the 4th Side,” with “the 4th side” a nickname for UVA football fans everywhere. (For the record, the other three sides are offense, defense and special teams.)
It will be an opportunity for students to meet football coach Bronco Mendenhall and UVA players for an old-fashioned pep rally to kick off the football season. The rally is mandatory for first-year students. Gates open at 7:30 p.m., one hour before show time, and each first-year student will get an exclusive Class of 2025 football T-shirt and learn the “The Good Old Song” from the Cavalier Marching Band. Students must bring their school IDs.
Later Friday, at 9:30 p.m., the University Programs Council will host “HOO-lapalooza,” a party at Observatory Hill Field featuring free food, terrarium-building and more.
On Saturday, among other events, there will be a 3:30 p.m. scavenger hunt in each of UVA’s dorm “neighborhoods”: Observatory Hill Field, the McCormick area quad and the green space between Gooch and Dillard houses.
Saturday night at 9 p.m. at McIntire Amphitheater, the University Programs Council is inviting students, faculty and staff to its annual Wahoo Welcome Concert. This year’s show features rapper Jack Harlow, followed by an after-party at the Aquatic & Fitness Center, where there will be food trucks, games, music and more.
Sunday evening following Opening Convocation, students are invited to Observatory Hill Field for the Wahoo Welcome Movie, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules.” There will also be waffles and backyard games to enjoy with new friends.
UVA’s beloved, traditional “Rotunda Sing” will take place Wednesday from 8 to 11 p.m. and will feature many of the University’s talented a cappella groups, as well as snow cones and Mellow Mushroom Pizza.
On Aug. 26, the University Programs Council’s Stand-Up Comedy Show will feature Michelle Buteau, who has been featured on the Comedy Central show “Key & Peele” and films including “Always Be My Maybe” and “The Stand In.”
Social and academic sessions are sprinkled throughout Wahoo Welcome, which runs through Sept. 13. Michael Kim, president of University Programs Council and a third-year student, said it is a “privilege” to be able to welcome new students to Grounds after so many months of lock-down due to COVID-19.
He said while planning the events, the council was acutely aware that many students have not even been to UVA before because of the pandemic.
“The goal for us … is to get students out and about and also explore Grounds and provide alternate programing to partying and understanding that the University will provide and have fun things available for them throughout the semester,” he said.