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Cal Poly Week of Welcome Set for Sept. 16-23

Sept. 10, 2018

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Nearly 5,500 freshmen and transfer students are expected to kick off Cal Poly’s 2018-19 academic year by participating in the university’s Week of Welcome — known as WOW — from Sunday to Sunday, Sept. 16-23.

New Cal Poly students will move into campus residence halls Friday through Saturday, Sept. 14-15; continuing students will move in Sunday through Wednesday, Sept. 16-19.

WOW gets underway Sept. 16 at the Lower Sports Complex, where new students will meet their WOW group and two WOW leaders. The Big Fall Welcome follows at 8 p.m. in Spanos Stadium and serves as the kick off and convocation for new students. The program will feature Cal Poly President Jeffery D. Armstrong, ASI President Jasmin Fashami, keynote speaker and leadership trainer Paul “The Ripples Guy” Wesselmann, special guests and others.

“Our orientation program involves the entire university, and aspects of the Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo communities come together to make the WOW experience successful,” said Andrene K. Kaiwi, director of New Student and Transition Programs.

Additional events and entertainment will include the long-running WOW-A-RAMA, led by community member and Cal Poly alumnus Frank Warren. It is billed as a fun and exciting way to meet and interact with new students and includes comedy and magic shows, on-campus activities, and special group events planned by WOW leaders.

A large portion of the week is spent educating new students on making healthy transitions to college life. Students attend programs that address topics such as alcohol and drug abuse, sexual assault awareness and prevention, diversity and inclusion, mental health and well-being, academics and more.

In addition, groups are able to participate in community outreach and volunteer at nonprofit organizations in San Luis Obispo County. Up to 25 groups — totaling 400 students — are expected to volunteer more than 800 hours to 12 different nonprofit sites.

“Volunteering with orientation and WOW has been invaluable to my college experience,” said Zack Lewis, orientation board member and 2018 graduate. “When coming to Cal Poly, it’s easy to live in a bubble that only consists of schoolwork and friends. Volunteering with orientation has helped me and many new students ‘pop that bubble’ and open my eyes to the surrounding community.”

WOW programming will extend into the start of the school year for the third year. Fall classes begin Thursday, Sept. 20. WOW programing will pause for students and their orientation leaders to attend classes and will resume Friday evening and continue through the weekend.

Nearly 900 Cal Poly students complete a 10-week leadership and campus knowledge training course during spring quarter to become a WOW leader. Every new student is assigned to one of about 400 groups headed by these volunteer student orientation leaders. Participation in WOW is mandatory for all new students.

WOW is the capstone experience of New Student and Transition Programs’ three flagship orientation programs that begin with Open House in April and continue with SLO Days (summer orientation) in July and August.

For more information about the Week of Welcome, including schedule and details, download the Cal Poly Now mobile app and search for the Orientation 2018 guide, or visit the New Student and Transition Programs website at:

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