U of M ready to welcome the Class of 2021 to campus

Students at a game

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities will welcome the Class of 2021 to campus next week. With over 6,000 first-year students expected, this will be the largest class since 1970. Following two days of residence hall move-in on August 28 and 29, the U will kick off Welcome Week activities on August 30.

“We are proud to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of Welcome Week at the U of M with the Class of 2021. The program continues to be integral to students’ transition to life at the University of Minnesota,” said Beth Lingren Clark, assistant dean and director of the U of M's Orientation & First-Year Programs. “Each Welcome Week program is designed with intention and coordinated with various student success outcomes. Our goal is to help new students establish a sense of belonging in the University community so they can thrive at the University and beyond.”

Now in its tenth year, Welcome Week enhances students’ sense of belonging and contributes to first-year retention rates by equipping students with the knowledge and resources to make a successful transition from high school to collegiate life.

Led by upperclassmen Welcome Week volunteer leaders, first-year students experience Welcome Week activities in small groups. Each of Welcome Week’s six days -- from Wednesday, August 30 to Monday, September 4 -- features a different focus. These include instilling collegiate pride and excitement, navigating the campus and its many resources, as well as engaging students with the campus and each other. More information and a complete schedule of Welcome Week activities can be found here.

Welcome Week is intended for the freshman Class of 2021. Transfer students are invited to attend Transfer Welcome Days (TWD) from Thursday, August 31 to Sunday, September 3. The program will cater to the specific needs of the University’s transfer students. The schedule includes the Transfer Tailgate, the TWD Hangout, Tour de TSA (Transfer Student Ambassadors) along with select Welcome Week events. More information about the schedule for Transfer Welcome Days can be found here.

Back-to-school media opportunities include:

Tuesday, August 22

New International Student Welcome with President Kaler, Mrs. Kaler and Goldy Gopher

4 - 5:30 p.m. - Northrop, 84 Church St SE, Minneapolis.

  • International students receive a special welcome from University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, Mrs. Karen Kaler, the Associate Vice President and Dean of International Programs Meredith McQuaid, and the Assistant Dean of International Student and Scholar Services Barbara Kappler, and of course Goldy Gopher! This program is part of Global Gopher Events.

Tuesday, August 29 - First Year Move-In

Move-in days for freshman students to residence halls. President Eric Kaler and Mrs. Karen Kaler will be on hand this afternoon to help students move-in to their residence halls. They'll be on hand from 2:30–3:30 p.m. at the 17th Avenue Residence Hall (326 SE 17th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414).

International Buddy Program Scavenger Hunt, 4 - 6 p.m. Bruininks Hall, 222 Pleasant St SE, Minneapolis, room 312.

  • The International Buddy Program’s Scavenger Hunt gives international students a chance to explore the secret locations on campus as well as enjoy international finger foods and dessert. This program is part of Global Gopher Events.

Gopher Gear Up and Student Free Store and Sustainability Stop, 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., Coffman Memorial Union Bookstore and Front Plaza.

  • During Gopher Gear Up, students can stock up on Gopher apparel get ready for class with special savings on fall semester textbooks. At the Student Free Store and Sustainability Stop, students can browse free furniture, supplies, shoes, clothes and more from the U of M's Pack and Give Back program.

Wednesday, August 30 - Welcome Week Kick Off Day

Welcome to Welcome Week with Jermaine Davis – a keynote address for Class of 2021, 1:15–2:15 p.m. and 3-4 p.m., Northrop

  • Motivational speaker Jermaine Davis talks with students about how to make the most of their Welcome Week experience and create an intention-filled first year of college.

Pride and Spirit night, 8–9:30 p.m., at TCF Bank Stadium, 2009 University Ave. S.E., Minneapolis

  • New students will form giant block ‘M’ on the field at TCF Bank Stadium, which will be used as the Class of 2021 picture. A pep rally, featuring Gophers mens basketball coach Richard Pitino, the marching band and others, will take place before the picture.

  • Students start to form block ‘M’ at 8:50 p.m., picture to be taken around 9:30 p.m.

  • Media must RSVP and enter using the Jackson County gate. The normal media entrance at Dodge County will not be open.

Thursday, August 31 - College Day

Convocation, 9:45 - 10:45 a.m., 3M Arena at Mariucci, 1901 Fourth St. S.E., Minneapolis

  • This is the official welcome ceremony for new students. Faculty members in full regalia will be present and President Kaler and Provost Hanson will deliver remarks to the Class of 2021 at this high-energy event.

  • Media must RSVP and use the Fourth St. entrance for this event to be issued a credential.

Football game vs. University of Buffalo Bulls, 6 p.m. kickoff, TCF Bank Stadium

  • All first-year students – both freshman and transfer students – will receive a free ticket to the season opening game.

  • Transfer student tailgate (3:30–5 p.m., Riverbend Plaza)

  • All new students will enter through Lincoln County entrance, which opens at 4:30 p.m. Media can film and interview students as they attend their first Gopher football game

Friday, September 1 - U of M Day

From 10:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., students will attend a wide variety of workshops at various locations, including:

  • Live Like a Student: Learn how to live within your budget, how to stay out of debt, where to find discounts on campus and other tips for financial success during your college career.

  • Sustainability Action!: Gather for dynamic displays and activities to see how your actions add up to a sustainable campus.

  • Academic Survival in Action!: Scope out academic resources available to you and possible study spaces as you explore what University Libraries have to offer.

Earth, U & Barbecue, 11:30 a.m.–1:15 p.m. at Coffman Union Great Hall and 12:15 - 2 p.m. at the St. Paul Student Center Northstar Ballroom

  • Students enjoy a zero-waste barbecue lunch and learn about the University’s commitment to sustainability.

Small World Coffee Hour, 6–8 p.m. at Yudof Hall, 220 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis.

  • Small World Coffee Hour is a bi-weekly event where international and globally-minded students come together to enjoy coffee and food and learn about cultures from around the world.

Respect U, 8 - 8:45 p.m. and 9:15 - 10 p.m., Northrop

  • This presentation will expose students to critical issues that are important to the student community by highlighting the importance of creating a caring and inclusive campus environment.

  • Kyle "Guante" Tran Myhre, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and educator and Wing Young Huie, U of M alum and local photographer will share how they use their talents to start meaningful conversations and highlight the importance of creating a caring and inclusive environment.

Saturday, September 2 - Community Engagement Day

Explore U, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m., 3M Arena at Mariucci – student organizations and local vendor showcase.

Late Night at Mall of America, 9:30 p.m. - 1 a.m., Mall of America

  • Students visit the Mall of America after closing to ride rollercoasters at Nickelodeon Universe and experience the Sea Life aquarium.

Sunday, September 3 - Community Exploration Day

Community Exploration Trips, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

  • Students can ride the transit system for free to explore Nicollet Mall, Uptown, Minnehaha Park or Downtown St. Paul.

Classes begin Tuesday, September 5.

Media Contacts

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University Public Relations
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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities