Release Date: August 23, 2011
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo will welcome new and returning students back with open arms during Opening Weekend, UB's tradition of offering students a fun, event-packed weekend before the beginning of the fall semester.
This year's festivities will kick off at 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26, on the Student Union Field, UB North Campus, where the annual interlocking UB photo will be taken. The photo requires more than 1,200 students wearing UB T-shirts to fill in the border of a massive outline UB's iconic logo. The photo is then taken from above by helicopter.
At 3:30 p.m. Friday, a meet and mingle with UB President Satish K. Tripathi will be held in the courtyard of Slee Hall and Clemens Hall. The president, his wife, Kamlesh Tripathi, and other members of the campus community will welcome parents and families to a new academic year at UB. Attending students will have the chance to win $100 toward books at the University Bookstore, an iPad, a free registration to Family Weekend or a "Family-Gear" Basket. All participating students will walk away with an exclusive family gift.
The new-student picnic will start at 4:30 p.m. on Baird Point, where new students and their families will enjoy a free chicken BBQ as they mingle with UB faculty, staff and other new students. The picnic will feature a sneak-preview of the edge-of-your-seat acrobatic talents of the Aerial Angels, who will begin their fire-eating and trapeze-flying act at 6 p.m. The picnic is sponsored by AT&T, Geico and UB Student Affairs.
Opening Weekend continues at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, outside of the Student Union with "UB in the Community," a daylong series of events and hands-on activities that harness the enthusiasm of new students, who will participate in activities aimed at improving Buffalo neighborhoods. Students who've spent the morning volunteering can then relax with a bus ride at 3 p.m. to either Niagara Falls for some sightseeing, the Niagara Falls Outlet Mall for shopping or the Elmwood Festival of Arts for a mix of both.
Saturday will culminate with the Welcome Back Bash at 9 p.m. in the UB Student Union lobby on the North Campus. There will be free music, dancing, food, prizes and the Bash's famous foam pit to enjoy
"The Welcome Back Bash is a great opportunity to meet up with people you may have met at orientation, or if you are an upperclassman, your friends from previous years," says Daniel Ovadia, a junior-year business administration major from East Meadow. "Everyone is smiling, and it really is a lot of fun. It's hard to describe how much fun it is to someone, so you just have to go check it out for yourself."
Sunday's revelry starts at 1 p.m. on Kunz Field as students gather to "Hear the Thunder!" as UB's marching band, "Thunder of the East," performs with bands from local high schools, including Lancaster, Medina Central, Mount St. Mary Academy, Pioneer and West Seneca.
At 3 p.m. the "We Are UB Community Photo" will be taken outside of the Health Sciences Library on the South Campus. This photo will include both students and members of the surrounding community.
"The goal of the community photo is to unite UB, our students and Buffalo's University Heights District neighbors in a fun and memorable gesture of our cooperation and pride in Buffalo," says Tracey Eastman of UB Student Affairs.
The first 500 people to join the community photo will receive a free UB T-shirt.
Sunday ends with Movie Night at 9:30 p.m. Students can watch this year's film either indoors at the Student Union Theater, or outdoors on the Student Union Field, both on the North Campus. Free popcorn and soda will be available for a free showing of "Pirates of the Caribbean 4."
"Opening Weekend helps new students get the academic year off to a great start," says Eastman.
"It helps familiarize them with the campus; get them moved in comfortably; gives them a chance to meet other students, faculty and staff; and helps them learn about the student-focused services and programs available to them. It helps them begin to build great college memories."
Although Opening Weekend officially ends Aug. 28, other fun and community-building events will continue into September. On Monday, Aug. 29, a 100-foot banana split will be served in the Student Union lobby from noon to 2 p.m., a sweet treat to mark the start of classes.
Students of the Undergraduate Academies will also enjoy the "Dinner for 12 Residents" event that night, which brings 12 new students who don't know each other together for a meal, possibly creating friendships that will last throughout their college career.
"This helps students meet folks on campus who will help them with their academic and personal goals in an informal setting," says Hadar Borden, administrative director of UB's Undergraduate Academies.
"Our students fondly equate it to a higher-education version of a McDonald's birthday party. We reserve the space in advance with balloons, and we promote an on-campus event with a gift to students."
Academies students will also get the opportunity to work with Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo, a local non-profit organization dedicated to community gardening. On Aug. 24, Academies students will volunteer in several existing community gardens in Buffalo, investing their time in the neighborhoods that surround UB.
Samina Raja, UB professor of urban and regional planning is on the board of Grassroots Gardens. She helped organize the effort and produced a video message for participating students.
During the month-long September Welcome Passport program, students will receive a sticker for each September Passport event they attend. Collecting eight stickers makes students eligible for a raffle, where they could win a digital reading tablet, $200 in Campus Cash or $200 toward books.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.