Imagine being able to see the end of a road before you begin it. Incoming freshmen, donning a graduation gown (albeit with sneakers) got a taste of that feeling just before classes began during this year’s University of Colorado Denver New Student Convocation on Aug 19. With jubilance and newfound school spirit, they took the first step of a thousand-mile trip.
It was a packed house in the Physical Education Building and Event Center with a record of nearly 400 family members, 130 faculty and more than 75 staff members in the audience.
In attendance: 640 first-year students, 40 transfer students, 130 faculty and administration, and over 75 staff members
The award-winning a cappella group CU Denver MIX provided live entertainment including the debut of an improv set while members of the administration mingled with families in a nearby dining area.
Meanwhile, in separate buildings across campus, incoming students were given a chance to informally mix with their future classmates, professors and a collection of graduate-student volunteers, based on the school or college in which they had been admitted. With nearly four times as many faculty attending this convocation as last year, students had ample opportunity to meet future professors while keeping their blood-sugar levels up with hors d’oeuvres before the main event.
As students were shown into the physical education building they were greeted by administration and student government representatives. “Three to four years from now, we’ll be here, watching your graduation,” said Raul Cardenas, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Until then, they have a great deal to look forward to.
“You will be surrounded by the most diverse student body of any Colorado research university,” said Chancellor Dorothy Horrell, PhD. “Diverse perspectives in the classroom add to the richness and quality of your education.”
In addition to what students are able to learn from their peers, CU Denver gives students the tools to make an impact within their immediate community and abroad. Through internship opportunities, faculty contacts, research and creative activities, students are able to apply what they know in real-world applications. “It’s all happening right here in the city, and you are in the thick of it,” Horrell said.
Motivational speaker and author Amiee Mueller gave the keynote address, where she emphasized the importance of breaking out of your comfort zone in order to foster a sense of community and to live a #FrontRowLife. Between interactive portions of group high-fives and students introducing themselves to their neighbors, Mueller broke her message into three main points.
1) Start a conversation with someone you don’t know. 2) Treat everyone as if they were rock stars. 3) Find common interests—because we’ve all got more in common than not.
After the formal ceremony, families reunited for a catered dinner by Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q and were free to explore the campus, peruse the event posters and catch up with faculty members between bites of barbecue.
Just a reminder to new and returning students: Here is a list of upcoming Fall events.
Aug. 22-25: Welcome Week, Lawrence Street Mall
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Food trucks and a DJ
Aug. 25: CU Denver Block Party between Speer Boulevard and 14th Street, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sept. 14-15: Fall Fest, Auraria Campus. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.