Staff Editorial: Welcome Week unwelcoming for some volunteers

Welcome Week usually consists of a diverse body of returning students who offer their services in assisting freshmen as they move into Lawrence. In the past, this group of Welcome Week volunteers has included athletes, fraternity members, and members of Lambda Sigma, as well as representatives from other campus organizations. But this year, Welcome Week volunteers were limited to only 30 people who were paid for their efforts and the 12 hours of training for the event with extra Downer meals.

“I liked the people that helped me move in,” commented Martin Alwin, ’07. While new students found the volunteers to be very helpful, there seems to be an obvious problem with the scarcity of them. There simply weren’t enough people to make Welcome Week as efficient as it should have been.

Athletes, who were on campus at the time, were not invited to participate as they have been in the past. Fraternity and sorority members were not asked to assist this year and were not allowed back on campus early enough for the event. “Move-in day was, frankly, quite exhausting,” said Welcome Week leader Alex Wille.

The solution would simply call for collaboration on the event as well as a better reason than extra Downer meals to participate. Volunteers should at least be paid for the 12 hours of training they must complete before the event that encourages them to be positive and “welcoming” as they assist new students.

“…[S]ome remuneration would have been really welcome, especially since many of us sacrificed a week of our time that could have otherwise been spent working and setting aside some money for the coming year,” said Wille.

There have been several complaints from members of campus organizations that they received little encouragement from the university to participate in this year’s Welcome Week, in contrast to the past years, when they have been invited to help.

The only justification we have heard for the reduction of Welcome Week volunteers is that it costs the university extra money to house students who return early. It seems a small price to pay, though, considering the positive impression the volunteers have made on new students in years past.

First impressions count, and what better first impression to leave with new students and their families than dozens of friendly returning students from every group on campus lending a hand and making new residents feel welcome?

It is a pity that the Class of 2007 will not share that memory.