10 Things not to miss during Welcome Week

Students spending the day moving into Rhoads and Brandt take a break to enjoy a little Richmond street magic.  Photo by Chris Conway
Students spending the day moving into Rhoads and Brandt take a break to enjoy a little Richmond street magic.
Photo by Chris Conway

Liz Butterfield
Online News Editor

Whether you’re a freshman looking for something to do in the few days before classes start, or an experienced senior looking to reminisce and get some free food, there are events practically every hour of the waking day during Welcome Week. Here are 10 things during Welcome Week that are worth making time for.

1. Love n’ Liquor

In the new and expanded version of the annual Love n’ Liquor seminars hosted by the Wellness Resource Center, students will be able to find out some interesting fact about their peers while learning some basic sex and alcohol survival skills. “It’s a way to realize at VCU your health is important to us and there are people to help support you and that (health topics) don’t have to be such a downer,” said director of the Well Linda Hancock, Ph.D.

Love n’ Liquor sessions will be held multiple times around campus during Welcome Week, so check your guide for more information.


2. Discover VCU and Richmond

During these walking tours led by the Historic Richmond Foundation, you’ll be introduced to VCU’s identity through its architectural foundations and learn about the interesting history of the city you’ll soon be calling home.

A walking tour with HRF will be held Monday, Aug 19 from 11 a.m. – noon and starts at Ginter House, 901 W. Franklin St.


3. Bike registration

Before you go galavanting around the city with your new friends, computer and bicycle, get them registered with the VCU Police Department. Registering your bike makes it easier to recover if it is stolen, can help identify you as the owner if the bike is found and can even deter theft with the decal you get after registration. Note: Bike registration expires after four years, so don’t forget to re-register with VCU PD if yours is expired.

The VCU Police Department will be registering bikes at various times and locations during Welcome Week, so check your guide for a time convenient to you. Computers and bicycles can also be registered at any time during the semester at VCU PD headquarters, at 938 W. Grace St.


4. Mosaic comedy Bazaar

Student comics will be able to debut their skills to the audience for a lively and hysterical show at the Mosaic comedy Bazaar. Although participants are asked to “keep it clean,” comics can perform improv, tricks, or group performances, said interim assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs Dionne Shepperson. The Conciliation Project, a creative social justice organization, will perform pieces about racism and prejudice after the open-mic portion. The not-for-profit Richmond theatre company’s original plays aim to open a dialogue about racism in America through challenging and honest plays. “This goal is in keeping with [the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs’s] purpose for the program, which is to highlight the diverse talent that we have here at VCU while also focusing on racial, ethnic and cultural differences in a way that allows us to poke fun,” Shepperson said in an email.

The Mosaic Comedy Bazaar will be from 6:30 – 8:30 in the Commonwealth Ballroom Tuesday night.


5. Students Helping Students: School Supplies for local kids

Not everyone is as prepared for school as you are. Many students in the Richmond area can’t afford to buy school supplies so VCU students are stepping in to help those struggling to get back to school. At the community service project Students Helping Students, participants will collect ordinary school supplies for children at Overby Sheppard Elementary School. The program is only in its second year, but organizers expect thousands of VCU students, faculty and staff to participate. “Welcome week is really a chance to show all students how to get involved in VCU and get involved in the Richmond community,” said volunteer services coordinator Beverly Ward. Students are asked to bring paper, crayons, markers, tissues, folders and more to Wednesday’s event. Only the first 125 participants will get free Brusters ice cream, but Ward hopes this won’t be the only motivator for donations. “We really hope that VCU students will understand that even the littlest actions make a huge difference,” she said.

Students Helping Students will be held Wednesday, Aug. 21 from noon – 2 p.m. in the Commons Plaza.


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6. Rec Sports Night

The Rec Sport Night’s open house is consistently the Cary Street Gym’s busiest day of the year, where thousands of students come to play inner tube water polo, participate in new group exercise classes, a free throw contest and pick up the latest free t-shirt. “We’re just trying to get people started in the habit of getting involved with recreation sports right at the beginning,” said director of the gym Tom Diehl. The gym rarely closes the gym for special events because Diehl says students should not be turned away when they want to exercise. “Our biggest thing is consistency breeds credibility … we’re not going to have a special function in three weeks and close the three court gym for something because it’s not fair for the people who come every day.”

Rec Sports Night will be held Wednesday from 7 p.m. – midnight at the Cary Street Gym.


7. Salsa on the Plaza

Do you love dancing in public? Show your salsa skills at the Salsa on the Plaza event hosted by the Office of Multicultural Students Affairs. You’ll get free lessons from instructor Boris Karabashev, a European National Salsa Champion. Karabashev will be performing and teaching two Latin dances to students during the event.

Salsa on the Plaza will be held on the Commons Plaza Thursday, Aug. 22 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.


8. SOVO fair

The Student Organization & Volunteer Opportunities Fair is your opportunity to get a feel for what clubs and organizations you may want to join at VCU as a new or returning student. You’ll be able to hear about clubs you’ve never heard of, local vendors, service organizations, and social groups. As one Welcome Week’s staples, more than 500 organizations participate each year and although you may be overwhelmed (either by the candy, free raffle prizes or too many interests) you’ll definitely be able to find one or two groups to join on campus.

The fall SOVO fair will be held Friday, Aug. 23 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Siegel Center.


9. First Ram Friday

Students will be able to play laser tag, inflatable twister, video games, make spin art, watch movies, enjoy comedy by Lucas Bohn and get more free food and prizes during First Ram Friday. More than 1,500 students come out each year to First Ram Friday, which is hosted by The Activities Programming Board and various student programming groups.

First Ram Friday will be held Friday, Aug. 23 from 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. in the University Student Commons.


10. Back to School Jam

Artist Mayer Hawthorne will headline this year’s Back to School Jam, which wraps up Welcome Week. Tickets sell out quickly and thousands of students turn out to the concert each year. Neo-soul singer Andrew Mayer Cohen, known as Mayer Hawthorne to fans, is a singer, songwriter, producer and rapper from Los Angeles, known for tracks “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out,” “The Walk,” and “Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin.’”

This year’s Back to School Jam will be held Saturday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m. in the Siegel Center. Ticket sales begin Aug. 19 in Break Point Games and Lounge.

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