By Theo Schwinke

Mizzou class of 2023 Tiger Walk on Francis Quadrangle
Last year’s Tiger Walk. Students at this year’s event will be required to wear face coverings. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

As new students begin arriving on Mizzou’s campus, final preparations are being made for Welcome Week (Aug. 16–23).

“Welcome Week is a time to fall in love with the university, to engage with campus resources and organizations, and to make friendships and connections,” said new welcome leader, Key Banks of Chicago.

As one of several welcome leaders, Banks will guide incoming Tigers through events designed to help students meet one another as well as academic and informational programs that help students navigate campus and its resources.

“I’m especially looking forward to being one of the first in-person members of the Mizzou family who incoming Tigers connect with,” Banks said. “Establishing a strong foundation for our first-years is paramount.”

A junior majoring in political science and American constitutional democracy, Banks became a welcome leader so he could be a mentor and guide for incoming Tigers.

David Retherford, a junior from Whitewater, Missouri, became a welcome leader to help new students enter the next chapters of their lives. “So many individuals have influenced and helped me over the course of my college career and I want to pass it on,” he said.

Welcome Leader Zariah Faulkner, a communications and psychology major from Fairview Heights, Illinois, recalls her own Welcome Week experience.

“I remembered my Welcome Week experience and how the leaders made me feel apart of the community instantly even as a transfer student,” she said. “My goal [as a welcome leader] is to hopefully make students feel the same way and get them excited for the school year.”

Welcome Week events have been modified to allow for social distancing, and the welcome leaders will be doing their part to help keep students safe.

“I will personally make sure all students are practicing social distancing as well as wearing their masks,” Faulkner said.

Students will still take part in Tiger Walk, an annual tradition in which new students walk through the Columns toward Jesse Hall to symbolize their entrance to the university. In past years, they passed through the Columns as one large crowd. This year’s new students will take their Tiger Walk in small groups starting Aug. 19 and finishing Aug. 23.

Other events will be virtual, including the First Roar spirit rally and the Mizzou Fair, during which students can explore hundreds of organizations to determine what opportunities they may want to get involved in.

Numerous other events, including open houses and volunteer opportunities, are planned. See the full schedule.

Welcome leaders encouraged new students to focus on finding opportunities for involvement during Welcome Week.

“College is your time to shine,” Retherford said. “Get involved! There is something at Mizzou for everyone, no matter your background or interests.”

Faulkner encouraged students to explore more than 600 student organizations, on-campus jobs and volunteer programs.

“There are so many opportunities here at Mizzou that students should take advantage of,” she said. “It’s decisions like these that really impact a student and get them off to a great start.”