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Dozens of events keep campus bustling during first week of school.

By Annalisa Purser

The University of Utah celebrates its annual Welcome Week Aug. 20-30 with food, parties, pictures and more that help students connect to campus, participate in traditions and learn about campus resources.

The week kicks off when more than 2,700 students begin moving into on-campus housing and continues with dozens of events throughout the first week of school.

“Research shows that students who are more involved in college have higher retention and graduation rates,” said John Michael Pantlik, associate director of the U’s Center for New Student and Family Programs. “Welcome Week exposes students to campus programs, offices, academics and clubs in a way they don’t get any other time of the year. It is designed to make it easy for students to get involved and set themselves up for success.”

Selected events are highlighted below. To see all Welcome Week events, click here.


New Student Welcome
Saturday, Aug. 22, 10 a.m.
Kingsbury Hall

This past fall, the fourth annual New Student Welcome ceremony helped first-year students understand what it means to become part of the U. Featured speakers included U President David W. Pershing, ASUU President Ambra Jackson and faculty member Ann Engar. The program was followed by a picnic and a chance for new students and families to meet U faculty and staff.

Wednesday, Aug. 26, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Union Plaza

More than 200 student groups, academic departments and student services office will have tables at the annual PlazaFest, which is designed to help new and returning students learn about all the campus has to offer. Approximately 4,000 students attend the event each year. In addition to the information tables, there will be a Swag Swap, where transfer students can trade their old school merchandise for new University of Utah merchandise.

College Made Easy with Funny Money Man James Cunningham
Thursday, Aug. 27, Noon-1 p.m.
Union Ballroom

Comedian James Cunningham turns students’ financial woes around with his critically acclaimed program, Funny Money. His lecture addresses a growing problem—young people leaving school unprepared for the day-to-day realities of paying rent, properly using a credit card and budgeting for basic necessities. The Funny Money mission is simple: take all of the confusion out of the complex world of finances and empower today’s youth with the knowledge they need to make good financial choices.

Class of 2019 Block U Class Picture
Friday, Aug. 28, 3 p.m.
Rice-Eccles Stadium

This is the third year that incoming students will gather on the football field before the first game to receive a class T-shirt and have their picture taken as they form the Block U. New this year: All faculty and staff are invited to join by creating a white outline around the U. They will receive T-shirts as well.

Crimson Nights
Friday, Aug. 28, 9 p.m.

Crimson Nights is open to all U students and even attracts students from colleges across the state. The night-time party in the Union is free to U students with their UCard and $5 for other students with their college IDs. The kickoff event is tailgate themed and includes games, an inflatable obstacle course, free food and a large dance floor. Crimson Nights is held several times during the year on Aug. 28, Oct. 23, Feb. 5 and March 25.

Fan Fest
Saturday, Aug. 29, 5 p.m.
Rice-Eccles Stadium

Fans are invited to the annual Fan Fest celebration where they can participate in interactive games, take photos with and get autographs from Utah student-athletes, watch performances from band and cheer, participate in a photo contest, visit with academic departments, browse merchandise from the U Campus Store, enjoy concessions and more.