Welcome Back, Wolfpack!

NC State was abuzz with excitement and anticipation as students checked into their residence halls during Move-In Weekend for incoming and returning students. After moving into their residence halls, students said goodbye to their parents, made new friends and prepared for the start of Wolfpack Welcome Week, an annual tradition that began in 2004 and kicks-off each school year. Campus offices and student organizations hold events encouraging students to meet new people and get connected to campus throughout the week. Some big events included RecFest, a late-night Target run, Chillin’ N’ Grillin’, Silent Disco and Packapalooza.

Following Move-In, RecFest, hosted by University Recreation, encouraged students to enjoy an evening of free food, entertainment and giveaways on Miller Field on Aug. 16.  Later that night, residents boarded a bus for the annual Late-Night Target Run, sponsored by the Union Activities Board (UAB). The annual tradition allows students to purchase any last-minute items they may have forgotten prior to move-in. Insomnia Cookies provided free cookies for trip participants.

Incoming students attended Convocation on Aug. 17, the first official academic welcome event for first-year students. Participants heard from Chancellor Randy Woodson and Jay Leutze, the author of their summer reading book, Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail.

The book is about a 14-year-old Ashley Cook and her aunt, Ollie Cox, who attempt to stop the destruction of Belview Mountain. Leutze said he thinks of the book as a story about the wherewithal, persistence and tenacity of the families who were engaged in the battle.

“I hope that that’s inspiring to students who are facing challenges as they try to decide what to be when they grow up, what to do with the rest of their lives [and] how to spend their time productively while they’re at NC State,” Leutze said in an interview with the Technician.

Austin Tucker, a freshman studying aerospace engineering, attended convocation. “It was pretty fun,” he said. “I met a few people.” As a freshman, Tucker hoped to make as many friends as possible his first week at NC State.

Another popular event during Wolfpack Welcome Week was Silent Disco, sponsored by the Inter-Residence Council (IRC) on Aug. 21. The State Ballroom in Talley Student Union was filled with more than 1,700 students dancing to their own beats in their ears with special headphones as they switched between three different competing DJs.

IRC also co-sponsored Chillin’ N’ Grillin’ Aug. 23 with the Interfraternity Council (IFC). The event was originally set for Aug. 18 but was rescheduled because of rain. Students enjoyed hot dogs, burgers and chips and played a variety of games, from volleyball to cornhole.

Wolfpack Welcome Week closed with an all-day block party and street festival called Packapalooza. Hillsborough Street was closed down from Brooks Street to the roundabout near the Memorial Tower. The street was filled with vendors, campus organizations and Wolfpack athletes. The event included a concert from Wolfpack Hip Hop Time Machine, featuring artists such as Petey Pablo, Nappy Roots, Terminator X, DJ DVS, Rhapsody and 9th Wonder.

Packapalooza was divided into nine different zones: Arts, Green, Pack Pride, Play, Senior Class, Service, Wolfpack and Young Alumni. Each zone featured its own activities, like meeting Tuffy, touring the Memorial Tower and autographs with players, coaches and athletic teams at NC State.

Tucker, a member of the wrestling team, said the best part of Packapalooza was signing autographs with his teammates at the Athletics tent. Tucker lives in Metcalf Hall and enjoys living there because of the proximity to places such as Talley Student Union.

Lauren Harris, a junior studying business administration, attended Packapalooza for the third time. “I look forward to Packapalooza every year because it brings all the students back together, and it makes me remember why I love my school so much.”

Harris’ favorite part about Packapalooza was the Dance Marathon table, which was set up in the Service Zone at Packapalooza, across from the University Housing table. Harris participated in Dance Marathon for the past two years and plans to be a part of it again this year. She enjoys participating in Dance Marathon each year because she loves putting a smile on the kids’ faces and supporting a great cause.

Although Welcome Week has come to a close, the excitement is far from ending.  Students will have plenty of opportunities to get involved on campus. RAs will hold meetings and events encouraging residents to meet those who live near them and participate in leadership opportunities.

Hannah Carlson, a junior studying communication and an RA in Wolf Village, plans programs that focus on academic success, building community and service.

“We have one planned coming up in September where we are having someone from University Dining come and teach our residents how to cook healthily,” Carlson said. “We also do three community-wide programs that are planned by a team of RAs.”

It is helpful for residents to get to know their RAs, who are always happy to help and answer any questions or concerns that may arise during the residents’ time on campus. Building a strong relationship with their RAs, as well as their Resident Directors (RD), will provide opportunities for mentorship and help residents become more involved on campus, which will enhance their time at NC State.

“I was excited to meet all of my residents and get to know them,” said Carlson, who decided to become an RA to impact people in a positive way. “I love to see people grow and improve and accomplish things they never thought they could,” she said. “As an RA, I get to be a part of that process and develop relationships that allow me to be a positive influence.”