Reflecting on WOW 2016

by carolyn sutherland & Sarah Blackey

It's no secret that the Week of Welcome is the highlight of many students' school year. Whether you're leading a group, serving as a member of E-Staff, or going through WOW as a new Mustang, you're bound to have the time of your life. Join us as we recap WOW 2016 through the eyes of those that experienced it first hand.

We thought we would ask Katie Bratt, an Orientation Board Member from the 2015-2016 school year how WOW exceeded her expectations. Bratt answered, "Seeing how fantastic the leaders were and how well-formed the WOW groups became made WOW that much better." Bratt added that she saw "not just WOW groups, but families" being formed throughout the week. It's true – more often than not, a WOW groups becomes a family away from your real family, and that is something that is so unique about the Week of Welcome.

From the perspective of a WOWie, the familial aspect of a WOW group is something that can help to carry them through their first year of college. We asked Marisa Savage, a first-year student, what impact her WOW leaders had on her Week of Welcome experience. Savage answered, "[my leaders] were the highlight of my WOW experience," adding that "it was nice going into the school year knowing older people on campus that could be there as both a resource and as a friend." A rewarding experience of being a WOWie is having mentors that you can look up to and direct questions toward in times of uncertainty.

At the end of it all, every person involved in WOW claims that it has somehow given them a home. Whether WOW helped you "form friendships and get comfortable with Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo alike," like it did for Marisa, or if it went as far as helping you to "gain friends that are more like family," as it did for Katie, WOW is an experience that you will never forget. As you can see, the Week of Welcome is more than just an orientation program that all students experience – it's a rite of passage that will help you to find your niche in the campus and the surrounding community.

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