Story by Erik Potter

Two hot air balloons sit on the Quad at dusk with the Columns in the background.
The Hot Air Balloon Glow event Aug. 17 was a stunning highlight to Welcome Week. The balloons were lit only by the fire from their propane tanks. Photo by Katrina Boles

Mizzou freshmen moved in on a Wednesday. Classes didn’t start until Monday. That’s four days of boredom, right?

Not even close.

Mizzou rolled out the red carpet for its new and returning students — carpet that ran all across campus, through grassy parks, sand volleyball pits, polished dance floors and even into downtown and the MKT Trail. Students had dozens of activities to choose from each day to help them settle in, meet new friends and blow off steam.

Students sit at a row of computers to play Fortnite.
Jillienne Hays (foreground), fights a losing battle in a Fortnite tournament during Student Center Game Day, Aug. 16. Photo by Erik Potter

Fortnite Fracas

Jillienne Hays, a freshman from Maryland Heights, Missouri, calls herself antisocial. You wouldn’t have known it from her first two days on campus though.

“I make myself go to the events that sound interesting,” she says. “I try to at least ask people questions.”

So far she’s interested in a lot. After moving in on Wednesday, she attended the Residence Halls Association block party Wednesday night, joined the Cycling Club’s Thursday-morning ride, then headed to MizzouRec’s Fun Day event before cooling off with some Fortnite action at the Student Center Game Day.

She’s never thought of herself as a gamer, but she is considering video game design as a career. Her first choice, however, is still cosmetic chemistry (designing fragrances).

Coffee Crawl

Ashton Lairmore takes her coffee seriously. In the middle of moving into Hatch Hall on Move-In Day, she snuck away for a job interview at Kaldi’s Coffee downtown. (She got the gig.) Finding a place on campus to relax with friends and a cup of joe is near the top of her settling-in checklist.

Students sit around three square tables in a coffee shop and listen while a Mizzou staff member talks.
Freshmen ask questions and take advice from professional staff members while sipping coffee from Catalyst Cafe in the Bond Life Sciences Center, Aug. 17. Photo by Katrina Boles

“For me, it ranks very high. Probably No. 2,” she says on her way to Catalyst Cafe Friday morning. She went with two other friends from Springfield, Missouri, on the official Coffee Crawl, a Welcome Week event. “I don’t even know what No. 1 is — there’s probably something. But coffee is very important.”

Coffee Crawl lets new students explore a campus coffee shop and sit down for a conversation with professional staff. Tyler Page, associate director of Residential Life, and Nancy Monteer, director of Campus Dining Services, led the Catalyst Cafe group.

Org hors d’oeuvres

Mizzou’s more than 500 recognized student organizations hosted events across campus for Student Organization Day, Saturday, Aug. 18. The full slate of activities allowed new students to sample the out-of-class experiences available to them.

That’s not all

These are just a small sample of the Welcome Week events, which is an even smaller sample of the opportunities Mizzou students have to learn and grow outside the classroom.

Last year, the 518 recognized student organizations on campus held 2,830 events, at which students spent more than 240,000 hours in learning activities.

The freshmen who took part in this year’s Welcome Week are off to a great start in their college journey.