30°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Opening Week Promises Music, Free Food

As new students attempt to navigate the numerical chaos of Wheatley Hall and returning students fall back into the academic grind, UMass Boston’s Opening Week hopes to provide an atmosphere of information and amusement.As with inaugural semesters past, music, free food, and the logistics of the campus navigation and registration processes will be provided. However, as this fall semester marks the first with a completed Campus Center, the $75 million building is at the center of Opening Week festivities.”The real key to this year is the fact that we do have this new front door to the campus,” said Chris Hogan, assistant vice chancellor of Student Affairs.”Students can get all their needs addressed in the Campus Center. When you have one central location and you know that students are going to be here, it makes it a lot easier to get out to students, to create this festive atmosphere and to bring students together,” added Michael Todorsky, associate to the vice chancellor for Enrollment Management. Todorsky, along with Hogan, chairs the Opening Week Committee responsible for this semester’s activities.According to Hogan, more than half of the university’s population travels to UMass Boston via public transportation, and the addition of bus activity outside the new building will provide a better venue than in years past, and allow students access to the Opening Week opportunities upon their arrival.The services and activities provided include information tables in the Campus Center, Wheatley, and McCormack buildings, live music performed by the CoalBoilers, departmental and organizational open houses, and a daily array of raffles, games, and prizes.”Each day there will be some free food offerings, some free drink offerings, music as people come on campus, a mini-carnival, and information fair,” said Joyce Morgan, director of Student Life and a committee member. She cited the pivotal role of the Campus Center in this semester’s festivities.”We want new students to know that this campus is a really vibrant, active place,” said Morgan. “I think it’s going to make a huge difference that it will feel like there’s a living room. It’s a place where everybody can go and grab their lunch and get the information they’ll need. It will make all those attempts that people have to share their information with students more public because people will be passing by them.”While students are not directly involved with Opening Week preparations, as much of the committee’s brainstorming takes place well before classes begin, many student organizations and centers will participate in Thursday’s information fair. Morgan points to further student influence on the events in the committee’s renewal of activities that have been popular in the previous years, as well as direct student feedback. She adds that a heightened student presence in subsequent semesters is not out of the question.”Welcome Week started primarily as information sharing and over the last couple of years has evolved into some programming, and with that evolution it would be really good if we involved some students in it,” she said.The question of whether or not students will make use of Opening Week services is not one weighing heavily on the committee. Chris Hogan disagrees with the idea that UMB students are less receptive to activities that might normally be held on a residential campus. “If we provide it and it’s exciting and high quality, students will participate,” Hogan said.Morgan added, “Our community has different responsibilities than your traditional campus. [The student body’s] free time is much more valuable. What we have tried to do even more this year is to be conscious of those who just want information, but [also] for those that are looking for a chance to connect, we’ve tried to offer things that are happening in your path.”One of the nice things about the Campus Center, she said, is that it aspires to bring people to a common space, so that they can see some of the things offered to them.”We know our students are busy. We know they’ve got lots of commitments and responsibilities. So, we want to make it easy for them to get to know each other,” she said. “We try not to listen to the hype of ‘nobody wants anything.’ The most important thing is that you know about your choices, you know about your options. The choice is whether you take us up on it or not–that’s yours.”