Kansas University’s annual rite of welcoming old and new students to campus will reach a crescendo on Friday as residence halls and scholarship halls open at 8 a.m.
And as new students arrive, they’ll be greeted by a beefed-up slate of activities and a new group of upperclassmen student staffers to help them get acclimated.
“The first six weeks are very important to a student’s retention and happiness,” said Christina Kerns, program coordinator for KU’s new Office of First-Year Experience, who is leading Hawk Week activities this year.
She said to look for an increased emphasis on academics this year, as KU focuses on retaining students after their first year and ensuring they graduate in four years.
Students in the residence halls will begin discussing Eula Biss’ “Notes From No Man’s Land” soon after arriving. The collection of essays is the first selection in a new common book program for all KU freshmen. About 110 upperclassmen will serve as Hawk Week leaders, encouraging new students to attend the variety of programs in the week.
During the opening convocation ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at the Lied Center, students will be given tassels with their graduation year on them, Kerns said.
But first comes Friday, when shopping for housewares becomes something like an Olympic sport.
And Lawrence residents should expect heavy traffic around campus Friday. KU spokeswoman Jill Jess outlined the intersections likely to be busiest:
• Three Daisy Hill locations: 15th and Iowa streets, 15th Street and Engel Road and Irving Hill and Engel roads
• Near Oliver Residence Hall at 19th Street and Naismith Drive
• Near GSP and Corbin residence halls at 11th and Louisiana streets
Some of the old Hawk Week standbys will remain mostly unchanged from previous years, Kerns said, including the annual Traditions Night, where new students can break out their best Rock Chalk Chants. That event is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium, and will be followed by an outdoor concert at the nearby Campanile.
A complete schedule of activities is available online at hawkweek.ku.edu.
The first day of KU classes is Monday.