For thousands of new (and even returning) students, late September means making new friends, exploring new interests, and perhaps most importantly, finding and building their new communities. The relationships forged during those on-campus training weeks often define students’ lives as Bruins. Even though the pandemic has rewritten the circumstances, UCLA is doing its best to ensure that this coming year will be no exception.
From September 24 through October 4, the True Bruin Welcome program will introduce students to the myriad ways to get involved at UCLA and provide opportunities to connect virtually with like-minded students and resources to support personal growth. and academic success, whether studying at home or on campus.
“Community and community building is an important part of the college experience, whether it’s a virtual neighborhood or in person,” said Josh O’Connor, deputy director of office leadership and engagement. of residential life. “The goal is to ensure that everyone at UCLA has the opportunity to feel a sense of belonging. True Bruin Welcome’s goal is to provide educational and social engagements to enable students to find their communities and to feel a sense of belonging.
This year, UCLA will welcome about 6,300 freshmen and more than 3,800 transfer students, although fewer than 800 students will live on the Hill. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, testing is required for all students living in university accommodation or participating in on-site or hybrid courses, as well as faculty, staff or teaching assistants involved in on-site education.
True Bruin Welcome kicks off September 24 with a day full of virtual events aimed at introducing students to UCLA and providing them with resources to navigate life as a Bruin. This is Bruin Life, UCLA’s flagship student welcome, will feature Chancellor Gene Block, Student Body President Naomi Riley, current students and alumni sharing what they’ve learned and how they’ve grown at UCLA.
Friday, Sept. 25 includes events aimed at helping students transition to the new college environment — among them, virtual get-togethers to help build communities among students from rural areas and those moving to the Los Angeles area. . Students will also have the opportunity to discover hundreds of student organizations at the Enormous Activities Fair. Instead of taking over Bruin Walk, the fair will be held virtually on Instagram so students can take their time to familiarize themselves with the various resources and opportunities available to them.
Over the weekend, students will have the opportunity to connect with classmates from their academic disciplines, get more information about student activities, and even see a tabletop production of “Much Ado About Nothing” by Shakespeare from UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, where an actor gives an intimate account of the play using household objects. The UCLA Greek Community will also host an event on September 26 to welcome new and tenured students. Members of the different Greek organizations will share information and answer students’ questions.
Academic events will continue throughout the week. UCLA College will host open houses for academic disciplines, including labor studies, physical sciences, art history, ecology, and evolutionary biology among many other fields.
On September 29, ASUCLA will hold a question and answer session on job opportunities on campus, where many Bruins find their strongest communities. Also on Tuesday, commuting students will have the chance to connect with each other around a game of Kahoot!
The Transfer Student Center will host a transfer trivia event at 11 a.m. on September 29, where prizes will be awarded for knowledge of the UCLA transfer community.
On October 1, LGBTQ student groups will host a virtual event to introduce new and returning students to organizations and offer students a chance to meet each other. Similar events will take place throughout True Bruin Welcome, including an event specifically for LGBTQ international students.
The Dashew Center is also inviting new international students to join them on October 2 for an FAQ session that will help them in their transition to life as a UCLA student.
Students will also receive valuable resources to help them meet the challenges of university life. On September 24, students will be able to attend Zoom seminars on student unions and workplace rights, overcoming impostor syndrome, accessing disability accommodations, and advocating for rights with the Center for Accessible Education.
And finally, back-to-school programming will end as it always does with UCLA’s annual Volunteer Day, which, like everything else this year, is changing due to COVID-19. Even without the large-scale group volunteer projects that have been a hallmark of the event – now in its 12th year – anyone can register for Volunteer Day and participate in one or many of the dozens of virtual Volunteer Day activities. Activities include a mask-making tutorial, an information session to register as a poll worker, and learn about local community service groups. While almost all of Volunteer Day, which will take place on October 10, will be held virtually, there will still be a blood drive and food drive for basic needs on campus.
For the first time, Volunteer Day includes educational webinars bringing UCLA expertise to the community on topics such as effective protest during a pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and voter registration and removal.