Hawk Week events
Friday, Aug. 23
Rock Chalk Block Party, 8:30 p.m. - 11 p.m. , Kansas Union
Friday Night Live, 10:30 p.m. - 12:00 a.m., Kansas Union Plaza
Saturday, Aug. 24
Traditions Night , 8 p.m. - 9 p.m. , Memorial Stadium
Night on the Hill Concert featuring The Hood Internet, 9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. , Outside Memorial Stadium
Sunday, Aug. 25
Opening Convocation , 7 p.m. - 8 p.m., Lied Center
Monday, Aug. 26
Part-Time Job Fair, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Kansas Union Fourth Floor Lobby
Wednesday, Aug. 28
Hawk Week Art Trek, 5 p.m. - 6 p.m., Spencer Museum of Art
Spencer Museum Film Screening, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., Spencer Museum Auditorium
Thursday, Aug. 29
Student Group Information Fair , 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. , Fourth Floor Lobby, Kansas Union
Rock-a-Hawk , 8 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. , Visitor's Center Parking Lot
Friday, Aug. 30
Cosmic Bowling, 10 p.m. - 1 a.m., Jaybowl, First Floor, Kansas Union
For a full schedule of events, go to firstyear.ku.edu.
Starting at a new school can be a difficult transition. That transition is made even harder when home is more than 1,600 miles away and you transfer in after three years at two community colleges.
This is what Jeff Sondag experienced when he moved to Lawrence from Santa Barbara, Calif. in 2011. To prevent himself from being alone all semester, Sondag had to build up the courage and dive into his new surroundings.
“I had to hunt down my own friends,” he said.
Now a senior at Kansas University, Sondag is making sure incoming freshman and transfer students aren’t placed in the same position he once was.
Toward the end of his first year at KU, he saw a flier advertising open positions for Hawk Week Leaders. Seeing that the main duty was acclimating new students, he applied.
Sondag was selected, and during the first week of the school year in August 2012, he helped introduce incoming students to the campus during Hawk Week, the official welcome week at KU that hosts a variety of free events for students.
The purpose of the week is to create a sense of belonging for new students by giving them opportunities to meet their professors and peers.
“Hawk Week puts involvement on a platter and places it in front of them; they just have to pick and choose what they want,” Sondag said. “I really enjoy helping people who are coming in as I was. They are not really sure what to do, and we can help ease that experience.”
This year, Sondag is one of five students who help organize the 60 Hawk Week Leaders. Over the next week, the leaders will split up between the campus’ eight residence halls to encourage students to participate in the week’s events.
Unlike Sondag, Hawk Week Leader Andrew Locke, now a senior, was able to participate in Hawk Week events as a freshman. He met a fellow classmate at one of the events, and the two became friends. They recently moved into their third house, and have been roommates for four years.
As a Hawk Week Leader, Locke wants to make sure other students have the same positive experience he did.
“I got to see all the different faces of the University in one place, and I really got to sit there and think, ‘I’m a part of something bigger — a whole new environment and culture,'” he said.
One Hawk Week event — Traditions Night — has become sort of a tradition itself. Students will gather in Memorial Stadium at 8 p.m. tomorrow to learn KU’s history, songs and cheers, led by the Marching Jayhawks, the KU Spirit Squad and the Kansas Cheerleading Squad.
Both Sondag and Hawk Week Leader Nicolette Edwards said it is their favorite event, as well as a favorite among many other students.
“It was really awesome to link arms and sing the alma mater with the class that I was going to be with for the next four years,” Edwards said.
Though he was not able to experience it during his first year at KU, Sondag said he still has an intense feeling of pride as students cheer for their first time in Memorial Stadium.
“You can really see in a lot of students' faces that this is the first time they get a huge sense of pride for their school,” Sondag said. “Even us Hawk Week Leaders feel it.”
Other major events include: the Rock Chalk Block Party, when students congregate in the Kansas Union for games, bowling, food, prizes and giveaways, the Night on the Hill Concert, which will feature the hip-hop/indie rock group The Hood Internet, and Rock-a-Hawk, a dance party on Daisy Hill.