A true ‘Warhawk Welcome’

RU Purple makes incoming students feel right at home


Robbie Elsbury Jr.

Incoming students kick off their first week of school by running through a parade of hands during RU Purple.

Savannah Hernandez, Assistant News Editor

Assistant Photo Editor Dane Sheehan runs the gauntlet across the football field at the Warhawk Welcome Sept. 2.

The day of Warhawk Welcome involved cheering from peer mentors, a presentation from Dear World, a presentation on campus safety tips, Hawkfest, and finally, RU Purple. 

Students spent the days with their fellow students and peer mentors, learning about the campus, preparing for class, and making friends.

Peer mentors guided students in the right direction throughout Warhawk Welcome and RU Purple.

“I want to be a friendly face for the incoming freshmen to hopefully alleviate some of the anxiety and nerves” said Helen Johnson, a Senior Peer Mentor with a German Education Major. “I enjoy the mentor time because it gives the group a chance to establish those connections.”

Peer mentors also guided their student groups to RU Purple where groups ran together through the human tunnel on the football field and met in the stands for the class photo. They learned the school song and saw the cheer and dance teams perform, and then joined together on Warhawk Drive to paint the road purple.

“I love painting the road. It’s so fulfilling to walk down Warhawk Drive after it’s been painted and see the bright purple and know that you played a part in making it that way. It makes me feel very proud of the campus community and culture we have here.”

Johnson has been a peer mentor since her sophomore year, and this year is her third and final year. She was grateful to have painted the road every year of being at UW-W.

Some students felt more prepared and excited for their classes thanks to the energy of Warhawk Welcome. Many had favorite parts of being welcomed to UW-Whitewater, and least favorite parts.

After Move In Day on Sunday, Sept. 1, students were able to check into Warhawk Welcome and receive their purple shirt and lanyard to wear during Warhawk Welcome on Monday, Sept. 2. As these new students were welcomed into UW-Whitewater, the campus, staff and students made sure that they felt excited and comfortable.

“Warhawk Welcome was formerly known as Club U-Dub-Dub and TRANSFERmation which began in 2008. In 2018, the name was changed to Warhawk Welcome,” shared Marie Hornickel, the Assistant Director of the First Year Experience Office.

Hornickel has been the Assistant Director of FYE for two years, working for UW-W for seven.

“I wish RU Purple had started earlier,” shared Alyssa Mckinnon, a freshman from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin majoring in Elementary Education. “It was hard to be so tired the day right before classes started.”

“But in all, it was a really nice experience,” she clarified. “It helped me explore and learn the campus more to be prepared for Tuesday. It really made me feel welcomed.”

Students feeling welcome is a great way to begin the academic year, and Warhawk Welcome and RU Purple?! helped to achieve that. The tradition remains a wonderful way for students to learn, adjust, and meet new people with the help of peer mentors and FYE. Continuing the impact of what the year will present for the new students of UW-W, the first-year and transfer warhawks will continue to gain support form the members of FYE and volunteers of ULead.

To the students who finally have found the home for the next fear years, we thank you.

Welcome home, Warhawks!