At the University of Idaho, Vandal Friday is a welcome party for admitted students who are ready to become part of the Vandal family and see what life is really like on campus.
Cezar Mesquita, director of undergraduate admissions, said Vandal Friday is an event targeted at prospective first year or transfer students who are ready to sign up for classes.
“It’s a big welcome opportunity for students who are ready to meet with advisers, go to information sessions or tours,” Mesquita said.
Around 800 students and their guests, such as parents and siblings, will attend each Vandal Friday event. The events start Thursday and go through Friday afternoon March 22 and April 5. The students are invited to stay in a residence hall or Greek house.
“The overnight hosted events always fill up,” Mesquita said. “It is an opportunity to see what students are into and what they do for fun around here.”
Students also have opportunities to meet with advisers, register for classes, attend information sessions and get tours of classrooms, the Student Recreation Center and Greek houses or residence halls.
For the parents who come to Moscow, Mesquita said there are many different dimensions for them to look into during Vandal Friday.
“Parents want to explore the best institution for their child,” he said. “We offer meetings and workshops about financial assistance, resources for students and families and offer a session with Dean of Students Bruce Pitman about what to expect as students transition to college.”
Mesquita said a large turnout is expected for both March 22 and April 5. Vandal Friday has been so large that for the last three years it has been held twice each spring.
Cori Planagan, the coordinator for student orientation, said the Vandal Friday planning team is a collaboration between admissions, the campus visit office and academic advising.
“There is so much that goes into planning Vandal Friday,” Planagan said. “One of the biggest things we have to do is organize volunteers that include students, faculty and staff.”
Planagan said one of their main sources of volunteers is Greek sororities and fraternities, as well at the multicultural Greek houses.
“The volunteers work as greeters or monitor the luggage room,” Planagan said. “The check-in area is always pretty intense so a lot of people are always helping there.”
Andrew Brewick, director of university advising services, said the volunteers for Vandal Friday stretch way beyond the volunteers working during the event on things including check-in and stage set up.
“Truth be told, the entire campus volunteers and that is one of the most touching things for visitors to see,” he said. “The whole campus is welcoming these new students and parents into our campus community.”
Brewick will give a presentation at Vandal Friday to all of the students and their guests including an overview of a general education curriculum, degree requirements and roughly what a first semester schedule will look like.
“I balance the presentation with information for both the students and their parents,” Brewick said. “It’s an overview in hopes students and parents will pick up pieces they need and have resources.”
After Brewick’s presentation, students will break up into their departments or colleges and are advised one-on-one or in small groups and then able to register for classes. Even students who have no idea what they want to go into will get advising and will learn the scope of classes offered, Brewick said.
“Vandal Friday is our opportunity as a campus to welcome the incoming class,” Brewick said. “We give them a feeling of what it will be like to be a Vandal student.”
Caitlin Stagg can be reached at email@example.com