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MSU hosts welcome activities to get students engaged for the fall semester

In addition to the cooler weather and changing leaves, September also brings students back to Bozeman as the fall semester gets underway. In order to get students involved, MSU hosts many exciting events each year during the first weeks of school, some of which welcome the entire community as well as college students. Adventures MSU, Catapalooza, Fall Convocation, and Homecoming week are just a few of these action packed activities.

Former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, will be in Bozeman the night of September 5, addressing MSU’s freshman class during Fall Convocation. Tickets, free-of-charge, are available to the general public as long as seats are open. The evening will commence at 7:30, and Rice, an accomplished pianist, author, and professor at Stanford University, will speak about her memoir, “Extraordinary, Ordinary People”, and additionally will perform on the piano.

Rice was selected as the speaker by the Convocation Committee, chaired by David Singel, Associate Provost. Carmen McSpadden, Director of the MSU Leadership Institute and member of the committee, described the selection process as “both challenging and rewarding, as [the committee] works to bring the best to MSU and the Bozeman community.” The committee has already begun an extensive selection process to determine the 2013 speaker.

A lot of work has gone into the preparation for Fall Convocation, McSpadden explained. “Teams of excellent staff and students [have considered] every detail to assure a special event.” The hope is that this special event will inspire students to succeed academically at MSU, while also creating lasting bonds, meaningful experiences, and positive energy. Freshman will participate in class discussions before and after convocation about both Rice’s speech and her novel to encourage students to think critically, beyond the words on the page.

In addition to speaking at Fall Convocation, Rice will conduct a master class for MSU students prior to the Convocation speech. This class is limited to 150 students, and will be structured around Rice’s memoir, “Extraordinary, Ordinary People”, the MSU Freshman Summer Read novel that all incoming freshman are encouraged to read. Students had to apply for the class, and a faculty committee reviewed applicants. Students in the Honors Program at MSU were highly encouraged to apply for the class.

The Bozeman Public Library is incorporating Rice’s book into One Book — One Bozeman this month, and is pairing the novel with Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”. Community events have been scheduled that incorporate both books. For more information regarding One Book — One Bozeman, go to www.onebookonebozeman.org.

Another welcome event for students is the 12th Annual Involvement Fair, to take place September 12 at 10 am. Hosted by the Office of Activities and Engagement, this informative event will expose fair-goers to between 40-60 non-profit organizations from around campus, as a way of introducing them to the campus community.

Students will have a chance to really get involved September 15 during the “Rockin’ the M” project. This M restoration project takes place each year, giving the M a new sparkle just before Homecoming. Students will enjoy the great outdoors as they hike to the M and put a fresh coat of paint on the rocks forming the M. This preservation activity has been, in some form or another, taking place ever since the creation of the M in 1915.

Homecoming week follows “Rockin’ the M,” kicking off September 16. The Alumni Association has many activities planned for returning alumni during Homecoming week, including touring campus, golfing, hiking the M, and meeting with MSU President Waded Cruzado. Other activities are more centered towards students. September 20 at 9 pm students from both North and South Hedges residence halls will try to spell out “Go Cats” with the light from their rooms on the high-rise halls.

A pep rally will take place the following night, September 21 (known as Blue and Gold Friday, as the Bozeman Community is encouraged to wear the school colors in support), at 6:30. The Downtown Bozeman Association encourages MSU Bobcat fans to join them downtown for the rally.
Midnight Mania, an event open to students and drawing over 2,000 in past years, will begin following the rally at 8 pm in the Hosaeus Fitness Center and will include, at no cost, sumo wrestling, a climbing wall, free food, and many other fun activities. This is the 12th annual Midnight Mania, and is made possible by student groups and organizations such as the Residence Hall Associations. Douglas Fulp, the event planner, says he is glad that Midnight Mania is “a mainstay in the week of events for students,” and looks forward to seeing them enjoy the many activities planned.

The Student Alumni Association will light the M at 9 pm that night, commemorating the 97 years of tradition maintaining and recognizing the M as a symbol of MSU.
The Homecoming Parade will shepherd in the Homecoming Day festivities of Saturday, September 22. Beginning at 10 am, the Spirit of the West marching band will bring cheer to all as Bobcat fans prepare for the game that will follow. Kick-off time is 2:07 for the Homecoming Game against Northern Colorado and 2012 Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned at the half, marking the end of a busy, exciting week at MSU.

These many back-to-school activities planned by MSU organizations are all geared toward one goal: to help students succeed, whether through academics, new experiences, or new connections. It is the hope of MSU that through participating in some of these events, students feel more at home in the Bozeman community, and are able to settle into the new atmosphere, so that they can focus on having a successful semester.

Jessianne Wright, former News Editor and Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Bozeman High School Hawk Tawk, is a Freshman Honors student at MSU.

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