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New School Year Kicks Off With a WOW


Photo by Blake Silva

Cal Poly’s Week of Welcome, better known simply as WOW, is a decades-old tradition that took place this year from
September 18th-25th. During WOW, new Mustangs met fellow classmates, moved into their dorms, and learned about their new life at Cal Poly.

WOW is an essential part of the Cal Poly experience for many students. “I met my best friend at WOW and we have been rooming together ever since,” said Alex Gatdula, a third-year animal science major who volunteered as a WOW leader this year. “My WOW group was really close and we still have WOW meetings. It wasn’t just a week-long thing — real friendships were made.”

First-year graphic communication student Emma Landgren says that the experience gave her a boost to start her year. “I’m the most motivated that I’ve ever been to do well,” she says. “The program that I’m doing is so fascinating and all the professors seem fantastic.”

This year, WOW kicked off with “The Big Fall Welcome” at the Alex G. Spanos Memorial Stadium. Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, ASI President Jana Colombini, and motivational speaker Paul Wesselmann took the stage to welcome students, family and friends to Cal Poly. Over the next seven days, a mix of social activities and themed sessions guided students through the transition to college life. The “Academic College Experience” session taught new students the ropes; the “Know your Limits” presentation stressed the importance of students taking care of themselves and their friends; and the interactive “Awareness Gallery” addressed the challenges of going off to college.

WOW is also about fun. Students were encouraged to head downtown for Movie Night, strike out at the Mustang Bowling Lanes, play strategic games of laser tag, and cheer on new friends at a showcase called “Mustangs Got Talent!” But the most talked about event is the WOW-A-Rama rally which takes place at the Lower Sports Complex Field.  This evening of celebration included games, music, dancing and more, all geared to encourage personal connections that will support and encourage new students as they as they begin their Cal Poly career.

To watch a video about what makes WOW such a distinctive college orientation experience, visit

-by Lisa Nauful

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