First Years Experience Life on Campus

Move In, Hawkfest, and Floor Meetings Mark the First Year Experience


Robbie Elsbury Jr.

A group of UW-W students perform a choreographed dance at Hawkfest on Sept. 2.

Savannah Hernandez, Assistant News Editor

New students are living the First Year Experience this week. Moving in is a stressful yet valuable experience, and many people were excited to share the experience with others. During Warhawk Welcome, many events took place such as Hawkfest and presentations, which allowed students to get a feel for being on campus and adjust to their new home. Students moving in were also able to meet their Resident Assistants and learn more about living on campus, as well as meet fellow students in the dorms. 

“I think living on campus adds to the social aspect of school,” said Zachary Knudtson, Senior Resident Assistant and Finance Major. This is Knudtson’s second semester as an RA, as his first RA semester began in January of 2019. “I remember meeting some of my friends that I have today who were living in the same hall as me; it can be harder to be social for people living off campus,” he shared.

“The most stressful thing about being a freshman for me was getting to know people,” shared Erin Bongard, Marketing Major and Junior Resident Assistant. “My roommate and I left the door open to make friends and people thought we were mean because of that, but once we talked to people they learned that we were just normal students trying to make friends. My advice is to get involved. I didn’t follow that advice at first, but it is the way you will make friends.”

Not only did students adjust to living in their dorms and being on campus officially, but they were able to participate in Hawkfest, which took place on Monday, Sept. 2. Hawkfest is a two hour event during Warhawk Welcome in which tables are set up for students to learn more about resources on campus, job opportunities, housing and dining information, and more. 

Along with UWW tables being set up, Dear World was present to take pictures of students with their stories written on their arms, and displayed 125 of those portraits during “Portrait of a Warhawk,” a presentation that took place later in the day. Dear World helped students write a story that defined them, then write a line of that story on their bodies for a portrait.

“Dear World made me think not only of significant people in my life but significant and memorable times with those people, and sometimes in life we forget the moments like that,” shared Evian Ortiz, a Business Major from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ortiz participated in writing a line from her story on her arms, and her portrait was shown during “Portrait of a Warhawk”. 

“It felt good to tell a special story to a stranger,” she said, “even if it really pushed people to reflect on their life and be creative when sharing special memories.”

The First Year Experience is defined by being thrown into a new environment with new people, learning new things very quickly, and most of all, having fun and being unique. The events of the weekend of Sept. 1 helped new students become used to their environment and open up to other people, already shaping this part of their life stories.