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Release: Immediate

UI Weeks of Welcome: student orientation with lectures, food, fun, Semisonic concert

IOWA CITY, Iowa ­ New and returning University of Iowa students will not lack for social activities upon their arrival on campus for the new academic year, which starts Monday, Aug. 24. The UI offices of Orientation Services and Residence Services have planned two weeks of events and programs called WOW! '98 ­ or Weeks of Welcome '98 ­ designed to make students feel that they are part of the campus community as well as the larger Iowa City community.

WOW! '98 will offer a wide variety of events including fireworks, lectures, free food, a street dance, a community art project, an alcohol-free tailgate party before the opening football game, informational sessions about campus and community activities, and a free concert by the up-and-coming rock band Semisonic.

One of the goals for WOW is to introduce students not only to the UI campus but also to the community in which they will live during their college years. Organizers say that helping students to become involved in campus programs right away is the key to keeping them committed to the UI and Iowa City throughout their years in college. This year's WOW theme is "Commitment to Community," and the programming is organized into several educational categories: building on tradition, celebrating diversity, taking responsibility, making connections, and participating in service.

"We want students to have fun with these events, but we also want them to learn that being part of a community includes responsibility, respect, and commitment," said Cassidy Titcomb, one of the WOW coordinators.

WOW includes a community art project called "Words on the Wind," in which UI students, faculty and staff, as well as Iowa City high school students and other local residents will write their goals for the year on lengths of ribbon. Those ribbons will then be tied to the fence surrounding Hubbard Park to "carry dreams on the wind and beyond." Ribbons will be distributed between Aug. 23 and Sept. 2 and will be installed on the fence Sept. 3 and 4.

Students will also learn about the variety of opportunities for service both on and off campus at the Community Service Fair Monday, Aug. 31 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Kautz Plaza on the T. Anne Cleary Walkway.

Several of the WOW activities are being planned in coordination with Stepping Up, a campus and community coalition to reduce binge drinking and its second-hand effects. Stepping Up is hosting the Stepping Out Street Dance Sept. 4 from 9 p.m.-12 a.m. on the basketball courts behind Burge Residence Hall. The group is also sponsoring an alcohol-free tailgate party with free food and pop in the Quadrangle Courtyard before the first home football game against Central Michigan University, Sept. 5.

Also in coordination with WOW, UI President Mary Sue Coleman will invite students to her first "fireside chat" of the year Monday, Aug. 31, providing students with an opportunity to discuss any issues of interest or concern for the upcoming school year.

Following is a partial schedule of WOW activities. There is no charge for any of these events. For a brochure with the complete schedule or for more information about WOW, contact Cassidy Titcomb or Bret Gothe in the department of residence services educational program office at (319) 335-3029.

Sunday, Aug. 23
WOW! Fireworks, 9:30 p.m.: Students and the public are invited to a fireworks display. Viewing area: Hancher Green, the lawn outside Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.
Words on the Wind: Students and community members will be invited to participate in this community art project by writing their goals for the year on ribbons to be tied to the fence around Hubbard Park. Ribbons will be distributed in UI residence halls, offices, and to student organizations. Additional ribbons will be available from Residence Services staff, Orientation Services, and at tables in the IMU throughout WOW! '98

Monday, Aug. 24
WOW! Here at Last5-6:30 p.m.: A welcoming party for all students at Hancher Auditorium, with emcee Tom Flanigan, a UI alumnus who moonlights as a stand-up comedian in Chicago comedy clubs. The event will include fun and prizes as well as a multi-media presentation by UI President Mary Sue Coleman.
Groovin' on the Green with Semisonic, 6:30-8 p.m.: Immediately following the "Here at Last" presentation, everyone is invited to a free concert on the Hancher Green, just outside the auditorium, presented by WOW and SCOPE. (Rain location, Carver-Hawkeye Arena)

Tuesday, Aug. 25
UI Lecture Series kick-off, 7:30 p.m.: The University Lecture Committee presents its first speaker of the year, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General. Location: IMU Main Lounge

Wednesday, Aug. 26
On Stage Live, 7 p.m.: Jay Holstein, a UI religion professor and one of the most popular lecturers on campus, will discuss campus life, the UI, Iowa City, and other topics related to the new academic year in this entertaining presentation. Location: IMU Richey Ballroom (formerly Triangle Ballroom)

Thursday, Aug. 27
Ice Cream Social, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Student Services staff will scoop and serve free ice cream to UI students in Hubbard Park.

Friday, Aug. 28
What in the World is the IMU? 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: Students are invited to explore the Iowa Memorial Union, pick up free prizes, eat, drink, and listen to live music.
Get Hypnotized! 7:30 p.m.: Ricky Kalmon, one of the country's hottest comedian-hypnotists will once again wow students with his ability to make otherwise sane people behave outrageously. Event takes place in the IMU Main Lounge.

Saturday, Aug. 29
Photo Finish Fun Run, 10 a.m.-noon: Beginning on the IMU Wheelroom Patio this photo scavenger hunt will provide students with physical challenges as well as test their knowledge of UI trivia. The run ends with prizes, free bagels, and juice at the IMU.

Monday, Aug. 31
Community Service Fair, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Students will learn about opportunities to give back to the Iowa City community by donating time and talents. A wide range of service agencies will be on hand with information about volunteering. Location: Kautz Plaza on the T. Anne Cleary Walkway
Fireside Chat, 7 p.m.: UI President Mary Sue Coleman invites students to join her in the IMU Richey Ballroom (formerly Triangle Ballroom) for an informal chat session about the upcoming school year.

Wednesday, Sept. 2
Campus Colleagues Luncheon, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.: Students are invited to join faculty and administrators for a free lunch in the IMU Main Lounge and find out what professors are like outside the classrooms and offices. Reservations requested, call 335-3029 to reserve your seat.

Thursday, Sept. 3
Hubbard Park Field Day: Surge-a-thon, 1-5 p.m.: Obstacle courses, games, prizes, and lots of messy fun will be the center of this round of activities, sponsored by Coca-Cola, and patterned after recent television commercials for the beverage Surge.
Words on the Wind, part 2: Ribbons collected throughout WOW for the community art project will be tied to the fence surrounding Hubbard Park. Installation continues Sept. 4.

Friday, Sept. 4
Stepping Out Street Dance, 9 p.m.-12 a.m.: Students are invited to dance the night away on the basketball courts behind Burge Residence Hall.

Saturday, Sept. 5
Stepping Up Tailgate, 10 a.m.: A non-alcoholic tailgate party with free food and pop in the Quadrangle Courtyard. This event takes place before the 11:30 a.m. kick-off for the opening football game between the Hawkeyes and Central Michigan University.