Welcoming in the Collegiate Experience
Hines College student organizations welcome new incoming students
by Stephen Schad • August 29, 2023
For the first time in several years, the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design student organizations welcomed new incoming students for an entirely in-person day of welcome on Sunday, August 20. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Welcome Day has taken on many different forms, but this year's event brought back long-awaited vibes of the past.
"This was the first Welcome Day in years where all students were able to be together as one large group and have in-person introductions from faculty," shared student leader Emmelia Ward. "Dean Patricia Oliver, associate dean Trang Phan, academic advisors, and program directors attended to share useful information with our incoming students."
Welcome Day is wholly run by the Hines College's student organizations and supported by donations solicited from the Houston community. Although organized by student organizations each year, new fresh faces represent these organizations and participate in planning, bringing new ideas but keeping true to Welcome Day's roots.
"Although the University and College have changed across the years, Welcome Day is a constant and endures as a hallmark for thousands of new architecture and design majors," said associate dean Trang Phan, Ph.D.
above: Keeland Lab Director Jason Logan and hines College Dean Patricia Belton Oliver during a presentation; students get a tour inside and outside of the college grounds to familiarize themselves with studios, lab spaces and other resources available to them
The three-decades-long tradition provides new students a less formal orientation and a more personal inside look into their Hines College experience. Throughout the day-long event, students have an opportunity to visit one-on-one with current students, faculty, and staff, learn more about what to expect during their academic career, and discover how they can be involved in College.
"Although the University and College have changed across the years, Welcome Day is a constant and endures as a hallmark for thousands of new architecture and design majors," said associate dean Trang Phan, Ph.D. "For incoming students, the new school year does not truly start until Welcome Day kicks it off!"
New to this year's Welcome Day was the opportunity for students to connect with their program of interest.
"Directors of industrial design, interior architecture, and architecture were all invited to provide more insight on the differences between our college's programs," said Ward. "We wanted students to be able to align themselves more with the program suiting them."
"Our students and student organizations work hard throughout the summer to host Welcome Day because they know from first-hand experience that a sense of belonging and community can lead to student success and personal agency.
above: new students receive gifts and swag to welcome them into the hines college community; tours continued around the architecture building and outside the keeland lab
There is something undoubtably special about the Hines College's Welcome Day each year. As a college with such a distinct culture built around the studio experience, new students must have the chance to hear from current students and establish bonds that will carry them through as they begin this new journey.
"While the University hosts many onboarding events for new students each fall, the Hines College's Welcome Day is one of a kind," shared Phan. "Our students and student organizations work hard throughout the summer to host Welcome Day because they know from first-hand experience that a sense of belonging and community can lead to student success and personal agency. Welcome Day is not just a student-led event but a prominent part of the College's history and our students' collegiate experience."
Photos by Roberto Bonilla, Marcos Coronel and Emmelia Ward.
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