Kirby takes on Bulldog Welcome Week
On February 5, 2018, UMD notified the Office of Students in Transition (SIT) they were being dismantled. SIT offered services for incoming freshman and transfer students.
Orientation and transfer programs like Bulldog Welcome Week were moved to the Kirby Leadership Institute. Bulldog Welcome Week is an almost week long event that occurs before school starts that helps incoming students adjust to college life.
Emily Borra, the coordinator for Bulldog Welcome Week and the Kirby Leadership Institute as well as program assistant liaison for the programs within Kirby, said that even though the transition from SIT to the Kirby Student Center was tough at first, the overall benefits will improve programs like Bulldog Welcome Week.
“The Kirby Leadership Institute is a leadership program that is for every undergraduate student on campus,” Borra said. “It’s really designed on helping you figure out your leadership potential and how you can connect that to life after college.”
Borra said that she just started her job in July 2018 and she’s still learning about the Kirby Leadership Institute.
According to Borra, Lisa Ragoni, who was the former boss of the SIT area, ended up leaving UMD after SIT closed.
Jacob G. Larsen, student coordinator for Bulldog Welcome Week, said the program and its ideology never changed.
“Our overall outlook on making welcoming experiences and preparing all the incoming students for college always remained at the forefront,” Larsen said.
Larsen has been involved in Bulldog Welcome Week for the past four years and said it means the world to him.
“It was one of the first places on campus where I felt like I could be myself,” Larsen said.
Larsen said “being yourself” was one of the overarching themes of Bulldog Welcome Week this year.
“We wanted to encourage students, both transfer and incoming students, to find a place at UMD where they can be fearlessly themselves,” Larsen said.
According to Larsen, SIT had its benefits and Kirby has its own. Larsen doesn’t think there’s any justification in asking whether Bulldog Welcome Week is better off where it is now.
“I think Welcome Week is fortunate to have landed in the Kirby Student Center,” Larsen said. “I think Kirby is a good place for Welcome Week to continue its existence and evolve.”