Western welcomes students back home

Marc Ramirez, News editor

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Western Illinois University faculty, staff, administration and student volunteers spent their weekend making all first year students feel at home in Leatherneck Country.

All workers anxiously awaited the arrival of students back to Macomb in their bright gold shirts lining residence halls to help students move in. Welcome Crew helped ease the stress of hauling students belongings up to their rooms and direct the flow of traffic in what could be a very hectic time for students and their families.

Students signed up early summer to help assist in Welcome Week events as a way to welcome new students to our Leatherneck family. Students had the choice to either volunteer individually to help or they had the opportunity to register an entire student organization.

Following move-in, students were able to officially start off their collegiate career by attending New Student Convocation which kicked off at 5 p.m. in Western Hall Friday. Interim Provost Billy Clow, Associate Professor of Political Science Macherie Placide, Casa Latina Director Rocio Ayard Ochoa, Macomb Mayor Mike Inman, Student Trustee Rachel Greene and Acting President Martin Abraham kicked off the event by welcoming students to their new home for the next four years. The Marching Leathernecks and Western’s live mascot Colonel Rocky IV, Ray, made a special appearance to give students a sense of purple and gold. Immediately following the welcoming ceremony, students were directed to the campus mall to enjoy free hotdogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks to celebrate them officially becoming Leathernecks. The President’s Picnic gave students yet another opportunity to get to know those who they’ll be sharing a home with.

After Convocation and the day’s events ended, students made their way to Hanson Field to experience the tradition of Rocky After Dark for the first time, an event hosted by the University Union Board. The event consisted of various inflatables ranging from rock walls to hamster ball relay races to free food and drinks. Students had the opportunity to network with different student organizations and prominent student leaders from across campus. This is a time where students get the chance to meet people on their floors, in their buildings and the rest of the class of 2023. Various other Welcome Week events will be spartatic throughout the first couple weeks of school.