Welcome Days student workers welcome students during the Great Tommie Get Together in O’Shaughnessy Stadium on September 4, 2023, in St. Paul.

Students Connect at Welcome Days

In a week full of festivities, first-year students experienced their life as a Tommie for the first time.

For 2022, the Welcome Days activities gave hundreds of first-year students like Bennett the chance to connect with others within the St. Thomas community.

"I’m enjoying the fact that I am on campus and being able to meet new people,” he said. "I am excited to do activities like bowling, trivia, stuff like that. I’m looking forward to [being a part of] a bunch of activities that are fun [and] enjoying the free time before classes start."

Welcome Days, a university tradition during the days before classes start, helps students create new connections on campus, and is designed to help prepare the newest Tommies for success at St. Thomas through comprehensive educational and social programs.  

During Welcome Days, students met in small groups to talk and learn about some of the groups and goals St. Thomas has, such as sustainability, community engagement, and personal safety. They also got to meet some of their classmates with similar backgrounds or interests through the Living Learning Communities, First-Year Experience groups and even specialized groups such as the Proud to Be First program for first-generation college students. 

There were handfuls of activities students could participate in ranging from guided painting and games on the quad and a trip to Minnehaha Falls, a pep rally on the football field, movie nights and other social activities. There was also a late-night trip to Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America.  

“My favorite event would be the Glow in the Dark [Games in the ASC],” Navin, a computer science major, said. As for the rest of the school year, he said, “I am looking forward to getting in shape, making new friends and doing good in lessons.”

Not just first-year students participate in these festivities, but also returning Tommies make an appearance to meet some of the incoming Tommies and join in the fun. Two returning Tommies, Emma and Aracely, had participated in the Late Night in the ASC event at the Anderson Student Center and a few other Welcome Days events. 

“I’m excited to be back on campus,” said Emma, carrying her custom-made St. Thomas tote bag. “I like coming here and doing things; [it] feels fun with all my St. Thomas stuff.”

“I feel the same way,” said Aracely, who also carried her custom St. Thomas tote bag she and Emma had just made at the create[space] where students could also decorate a tumbler or mug. “I love coming here when they have the totes and it’s fun to get free Tommie merch and do it with friends,” she said.