Are partying and drinking the only activities offered the first week back at school?

Not necessarily.

The Office of New Student Programs hoped to introduce incoming students to the University in a more meaningful and informative way by again hosting the Welcome to Michigan Program, a week-long program designed to further introduce students to college life.

Commencing last Thursday with the New Student Convocation at Crisler Arena, the program featured an array of activities to orient new students with social, athletic and activist opportunities on campus. Program highlights included Artscapade/Escapade, Meijer Madness, Maize Craze, Recreational Sports Day, Community Plunge and the Pre-Class Bash.

While most key events remained the same, the student response was greater than in previous years at Meijer Madness and the New Student Convocation, said Drew Tinnen, coordinator of Orientation and Welcome Programs at ONSP.

“I was proud that we were able to showcase student talent with student groups performing at both events, and we had great help from a variety of student organizations who volunteered at the events,” he said.

LSA freshman Byung Park said he really enjoyed going to Meijer Madness on Friday, where he joined students in the crowded store for free food, music and last-minute shopping. “They really named it properly,” he said. “It was freakin’ madness!”

Alyssa Goldstein, also an LSA freshman, voiced a similar opinion, saying that Meijer Madness was her favorite activity of the week.

“It was awesome!” she said. “Everything was so cheap, and my roommate and I bought so much stuff that we needed. It was great because neither of us had a car.”

The Welcome program also aimed to provide an alternative to the alcohol-infused party scene, said Tinnen.

“Hopefully, Welcome to Michigan is a social time for students, but not a party scene.” One of our goals is to help students meet one another, and we provide numerous ways to do this,” he said. “We do plan late-night events such as Artscapade/Escapade, Meijer Madness, and University Unions’ Dance Trilogy to help us meet our goals, new students to have a good time, and events as an alternative to the party scene.’

LSA freshman Justin Berg noted that the University social scene and the school-sponsored activities “were pretty separate,” he said.

“I went to Rec Sports Day, which was really informational and people were really enthusiastic,” Berg added. “But I still felt really welcome as a freshman at different fraternity and house parties and had a lot of fun there.”

In hopes of improving next year’s Welcome program, students are encouraged to fill out an evaluation at for the chance to win a $250 gift certificate to Ulrich’s bookstore.

Editors Note: This story originally appeared on Page 1A of yesterday’s Daily. It has been reprinted because of a previous printing error.

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