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WoW kicks off new academic year at UNG

Weeks of Welcome
Nigel the Nighthawk leads freshmen through the arch on the Dahlonega Campus during Gather in the Grove.

In addition to the annual fall rituals of moving into residence halls, navigating campus parking lots, and searching for a classroom in an unfamiliar building, new and returning University of North Georgia (UNG) students are greeted with a series of events to make them feel at home: Weeks of Welcome.

Beginning even before the first day of classes Aug. 21, Weeks of Welcome is a series of events, activities and social gatherings on each campus designed to showcase the offerings of the university and the community as well as encourage students to get to know each other.

"The idea is to take the first two weeks of the fall semester to connect with both new and returning students in a way that they feel welcome," said Nathan Cheesman, coordinator of orientation and student leadership on UNG's Gainesville Campus. "Weeks of Welcome is an opportunity for students to discover all that the university has to offer, whether it's student organizations, Greek life or other community activities."

All campuses will hold a convocation for students as a welcome ceremony and an opportunity to officially kick off the new school year.

"Student convocation serves as one of the bookends to a student's academic career at UNG, with graduation being the other," said Darcy Hayes, director of orientation and transition programs on the Dahlonega Campus. "The idea is that students will see it as formal opening to the academic experience at UNG."

One of the signature events launching the fall semester for all UNG campuses is the annual Starlight celebration on Saturday, Aug. 26, on the Gainesville Campus. It features music acts, food and a fireworks show. UNG students are admitted free with a valid parking permit. Community members may enter for $10 per car or $20 per bus, van or larger.

Each campus has a unique slate of events to generate interest in UNG, including clubs, organizations, sports, wellness, and academic achievement in a fun, relaxed environment. There are also several welcome events specific for transfer students, called Transfer Experience (TREX).

"We have really good participation among our students, considering that (Oconee) is considered a commuter campus," said Lindsay Bailey, director of student involvement on UNG's Oconee Campus. "We've adjusted some of the activities over time, trying different things like 'Team M&M,' who are a balloon and body artist duo, to see if it engages the students and keeps them on campus a bit longer to mingle."

Some of the Weeks of Welcome events include (by campus):


  • 20 - Gather in the Grove, 6-7 p.m., Price Memorial Lawn
  • 20 - Student convocation, 7-8 p.m., Memorial Gym
  • 21 - Campus Outreach Chill 'n Grill, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Promenade
  • 22 – Nighthawk Network Speed-Friending, 6 p.m., Hoag Patio
  • 25 – Multicultural Student Affairs Welcome Day, 12-2 p.m., Hoag Great Room


  • 24 – Donuts with the Dean, 8:30-10:30 a.m., Student Center Patio
  • 28 – Student convocation, noon-1 p.m., Mills Physical Education Center
  • 29 – Sea of Knowledge, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Hosch Library


  • 22 – Student convocation, 12-12:30 p.m.
  • 22 – Cookout, 12:30-p.m.
  • 29 – Free Pizza, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.


  • 21 – Photo phone wallet, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Student Center Quad
  • 23 – Convocation cookout, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Student Center Quad
  • 28 – Balloon and body art, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Student Center Quad
  • 29 – Doughnuts with the Deans, 8 a.m., Student Center Quad

Blue Ridge:

  • 22 – Donuts with the Dean, 9 a.m.-noon
  • 24 – Convocation/Cookout, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

For a complete, updated listing of Weeks of Welcome events for each campus, check the UNG Events Calendar and the Weeks of Welcome home page.

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