On Iowa!: What it means to be a Hawkeye

Students gather at the President's Block Party. This annual event will be one aspect of On Iowa!, a new immersion program for first-year students. Photo by Tim Schoon.

This year, first-year students will be welcomed to The University of Iowa like never before. On Iowa! (oniowa.uiowa.edu) is a new program that will immerse the incoming class in the campus culture and introduce to them the traditions that will define their Iowa experience, all before classes begin.

For three days (Aug. 19-21) students will receive a comprehensive introduction to University life and an education about the skills necessary to succeed within the classroom and beyond. In short, they’ll learn what it means to be a Hawkeye.

On Iowa! volunteers needed

Welcoming more than 4,500 new students to campus is no easy task, and we’ll need the support of the entire campus community to pull it off. On Iowa! programming is extensive, and there will be a need for volunteers starting with residence hall move-in on Wednesday, Aug. 17, through the official event kickoff at Kinnick Stadium on the evening of Aug. 19, and on through Convocation and the President’s Block Party Aug. 21.

To learn more about how you can help, visit oniowa.uiowa.edu/volunteersurvey and submit your information.

Thank you in advance!

Sarah Hansen
and Emil Rinderspacher
On Iowa! cochairs

“It’s the chance for students to really get connected to the institution and with their classmates early, when it’s all about them,” says Sarah Hansen, director of assessment and strategic initiatives in the Office of Student Services, who along with senior associate director of admissions Emil Rinderspacher cochaired the planning of the event.

During On Iowa!, students will get to know classmates, interact with current students, and become familiar with the expectations of the IOWA Challenge (thechallenge.uiowa.edu)—a concise statement of expectations for students.

“It will be a chance to work with experienced students in small groups to really get to know the campus and what it means to be a successful Hawkeye,” Hansen says.

Goal setting, safety, and wellness will be emphasized, but there will be much more, including an opportunity to take the field at Kinnick Stadium, where a photo will be taken of the Class of 2015. A surprise keynote speaker is scheduled for Friday evening at Kinnick, while Convocation on the Pentacrest and a block party at the home of President Sally Mason will cap off the event Sunday afternoon.

On Iowa! grew from recommendations by the UI Student Success Team (SST), a cross-campus, grassroots group committed to fostering undergraduate achievement in the classroom and beyond. SST members proposed a presemester immersion program for first-year students that would introduce students to the University and each other. Similar programs exist at Purdue University, the University of Minnesota, and other peer institutions.

Other SST-originated projects include the aforementioned IOWA Challenge and fall Convocation ceremony, the Early Intervention Program, and Pick One, which helps connect new students with campus organizations and activities.

This enhanced emphasis on student success drives the University’s current strategic plan. Renewing the Iowa Promise sets goals for quality, access, and affordability, focusing on expanded living-learning communities, high-impact activities like study abroad and internships, and student safety and health.