Campus Life

Welcome Week offers wide variety of activities

The president's New Student Convocation is a chance for the entire class of 2022 to be together under one roof. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In late August, new students will arrive at University Park, unpack their bags and say their goodbyes to family.

For the staff at Student Orientation and Transition Programs, who work hard during the summer to acclimate incoming students to campus during orientation, they know the first weeks of the fall semester is a critical time for making new connections and building on existing ones.

Welcome Week gives students— both new and returning — the chance to build a social foundation and become engaged in University life. Molly Nulty, assistant director of welcome programs for SOTP, said there will be something for everybody among the nearly 40 events slated from Aug. 18 to Sept. 19, from the bustling LateNight at the HUB to the low-key gallery crawl.

“We realize that students come to orientation over the summer and they’re here for two days, but we also understand that their transition to Penn State doesn’t end with orientation,” Nulty said.

She also stressed that while much effort is expended to engage new students in Welcome Week, all Penn State students are encouraged to join the fun and help to welcome new students to campus.

Saturday, Aug. 18, is the last of the three arrival days at University Park for new students and features the first of the “signature events,” which are required for new students.

After residence floor meetings, students will head off to the president’s New Student Convocation that kicks off the academic year at the Bryce Jordan Center at 7:45 p.m. Aug. 18. It will be the only time the entire class of 2022 is together.

Nulty said this year they’re also trying to get even more students to venture beyond the bounds of campus and into State College Borough with LION Bash and LION Dash.

LION Dash, a new event, is a 5k walk or run through State College neighborhoods and was planned with the help of Left Right Repeat, a local running organization. Proceeds benefit the Centre County Women’s Resource Center. Registration starts at 8 a.m. Aug. 25 and start time is 9 a.m. In addition to students, the public is also welcome to sign up for the Dash

LION Bash takes place along Allen Street in downtown State College and gives students the chance to mingle with community members and learn about local organizations. It features live music and free food from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 29.

“The goal of both LION events is to get students downtown a little earlier during their time on campus,” Nulty said.

Below is the list of 2018 Welcome Week signature events, which are required for new students. A full schedule of all events can be found here.

Saturday, Aug. 18

Resident assistant floor meetings and dinners – various times and locations
This is an opportunity to get to know people living in your new residence community. Resident assistants will give an overview of residence living before students head off to New Student Convocation and LateNight. Resident assistants will have specific times and locations available.

President’s New Student Convocation – 7:45 p.m., Bryce Jordan Center
Convocation kicks off the beginning of the academic year and is the official welcome to the University for members of the class of 2022. Convocation shirts may be picked up from the HUB at any of the following times: 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17 or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18.

LateNight – 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Head over to the HUB after convocation for an evening of free food, performances and giveaways.

Sunday, Aug. 19

Dean’s meetings – various times and locations
This is a great introduction to your academic college. You will meet faculty and staff and learn about advising, expectations, resources and academic and cocurricular opportunities within in your college. Find the full schedule here. []

Be a Part from the Start – 8 p.m., Rec Hall
From the fight songs and alma mater to football cheers, Be a Part from the Start is an action-packed crash course on what it means to be a Nittany Lion.

Wednesday, Aug. 22

Involvement Fair – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., HUB-Robeson Center lawn
Connect with more than 1,000 student organizations at the annual Involvement Fair. Meet with others who share similar interests and explore new opportunities to become engaged in all that Penn State has to offer.

Thursday, Aug. 23

Results Will Vary* – various times, Schwab Auditorium
Graduation is your goal. We’re going to help you get there. Your choices and experience will define your journey. Join us for an interactive theatre performance that explores the reality of life as a Penn State student. This is a show for students, by students.

Friday, Aug. 24

Nittany Block Party – 6 to 10 p.m., HUB Robeson Center lawn
Wrap up your first week of the semester with the Nittany Block Party. Enjoy free food, live entertainment from student groups and other activities.

Wednesday, Aug. 29

LION Bash – Get to know the town of State College. LION (Living in One Neighborhood) Bash includes live music, a chance to learn about local organizations, free food and more.

The Office of Student Orientation and Transition Programs is part of Penn State Student Affairs and Penn State Undergraduate Education. Penn State Undergraduate Education is the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated August 22, 2018