New students are greeted with applause as they process through the arch on the way to the President's Welcome in September 2022.
Incoming students will again process through the Lawrence Arch on their way to the President's Welcome. (Photo by Danny Damiani)

Welcome Week ’23 will kick off on Tuesday, Sept. 5 as Lawrence University welcomes first-year, transfer, and exchange students to campus in advance of the start of the 2023-24 academic year.

Incoming students will spend six days on campus before Fall Term classes begin on Monday, Sept. 11. The week will be filled with orientation experiences meant to build connections and prepare students for a successful launch as undergraduates.

Among the events will be the annual President’s Welcome at 3 p.m. Sept. 5 in Memorial Chapel. Incoming students will process through the Lawrence Arch on the way to the Chapel, greeted by friends and family and Lawrence staff. The walk through the arch is part of a new Lawrence tradition, first started a year ago.

Find dates, times, and other important information on 2023 student orientation at Lawrence.

That first day also will include moving into residence halls, a resource fair, a campus tour, a parents’ reception, a Class of 2027 class picture, and various kickoff events.

Throughout the week, various orientation experiences are planned with a focus on connecting and engaging and becoming familiar with campus. Welcome Week will include Blu’s Welcome Bash, to be held 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 9 on Main Hall Green. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to the celebration of the beginning of the academic year.

We sat down with First-Year Dean Kristi Koshuta to find out more about the planning that has gone into the new-look Welcome Week and the excitement of strengthening the first-year experience.

Kristi Koshuta headshot
Kristi Koshuta

Q: How has Welcome Week been reimagined? 

Koshuta: There are a lot of exciting changes. Much of Welcome Week will be focused on our students gathering in small groups. We're being very intentional about that as we explore ways to help our incoming students make connections with each other and with the campus community. We will be gathering people from across campus—faculty, staff, coaches—to host fun experiences that the students can sign up for.

We're also going to be a lot more intentional in how we connect them to the available resources. I've talked to so many students who say, “We don't want to sit here and listen to people talk; we want to meet friends, we want to have fun, we want to get out there.” We are finding the appropriate blend of sharing the information they’ll need while helping them make those important connections. 

Q: Outside of Welcome Week, what else is new for incoming students? 

Koshuta: There's a lot that's in the works. The six areas that we're looking to focus on developing in our students are intellectual curiosity, communication, self-empowerment, wellness—from a physical, social, emotional, and financial aspect—resilience, and reflection. So, we're trying to plan what that looks like, how the academic side of the house can support us in those endeavors, how the staff and the student life side of the house can support us. It's really trying to figure out how we bring all these entities together to create this experience that taps into those big ideas. 

Q: Why do you think strengthening the first-year experience is so important? 

Koshuta: We really want to focus on meeting our students where they're at, helping them and getting them to where they can be successful. We must adapt to understand who our students are, what they've experienced, and what they need. Students are continually evolving, and we need to do the same. I think we can honor traditions, but we have to be forward-thinking in how we approach and engage with our students to help them be successful. I think there's no better time than now to be thinking about those things. 

(Alex Freeman '23 contributed to this report)