Student Involvement hosted Pizza and Popsicles with the President from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on the lawn of the President’s Home on Wednesday to get students out of their dorms or apartments, meet new people and say hello to the president.
“At Auburn we consider both the in-class and the out-of-class experience a very important part of the whole college experience,” Gogue said. “For us to say, ‘Welcome,’ and ‘Glad to have you,’ to new incoming freshmen, that’s an important thing. To say we care about you, you’re a part of the Auburn Family as soon as you get here.”
A total of 239 students checked into the event using their digital event pass on AUInvolve, according to Brad Smith, director of Student Involvement.
Bobby Woodard, senior vice president of Student Affairs, said that Student Affairs has planned more events for this year than in previous years to make up for all those missed during the pandemic. These introductions to Auburn's campus are important for new students, Woodard said.
“If they’re connected to our campus, they know where to go for support. They do better, they feel a part of our community — that’s our ultimate goal," Woodard said.
While the event is typically geared toward freshmen, Gogue said they encouraged sophomores — whom he referred to as “redshirt freshmen” — to come out as well since the event, typically held every year, was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Joe Skarupa, sophomore in industrial engineering, said Pizza and Popsicles was a nice way to see people after a freshman year with limited social interaction.
“It was definitely hard last year not being able to meet as many people,” Skarupa said. “Going into a new place, kind of being more isolated. This year’s been a lot better, with just even having classes with masks.”
Skarupa said he has already attended a few Welcome Week events and is excited for the year.
Jamie Kraut, freshman in apparel merchandising, said she also enjoyed the event.
“It was really fun; I’m glad they put something on like this,” Kraut said.
More than just first-and second-year students attended the event. Upperclassmen and graduate students also made their way to the lawn of the President’s Home on Wednesday to hang out and get some free food.
Lauren Mills, who transferred from Northeast Alabama Community College this year and is now in her junior year studying animal science, said she’s been trying to go to more events to meet people at her new campus. After a year without large events due to the pandemic, she said she’s having to adjust to being back in larger crowds.
“There’s a lot of people, but everyone’s so friendly so I love it,” Mills said. “It's something to get used to, and I’m just adapting to that.”
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Evan Mealins, senior in philosophy and economics, is the editor-in-chief of The Auburn Plainsman.