WSSU welcomes largest freshman class since 2008

Orientation for Class of 2020 runs Aug. 14-20

Winston-Salem State University is expecting 950 new first-year students this fall—the largest incoming class since 2008 and an increase over last year’s freshman class of 887. Those students will begin their college experience on Sunday, Aug. 14, with the kick off of the university’s week-long fall orientation program known as Ramdition.

The 2016 version of Ramdition was reimagined based on the values stated in WSSU’s new Strategic Plan. These core values--student-centeredness, excellence, stewardship, integrity, social justice, and trust--were used as the foundation to build each activity.

“This is the first class to enter Winston-Salem State University under the new strategic plan,” said Brenda Allen, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs. “WSSU’s values are essential not only for a successful academic career, but for a successful life. My hope is that students will internalize these values and form an affinity toward the concept of a liberal education.”

Ramdition begins with a Welcome Session at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14. There, students will have an opportunity to meet members of the University’s administration and be placed in groups, each led by student mentors. Students will also be assigned an academic success counselor, who will advise them on course selection and assist them in registering for their fall classes. Throughout the week, students will also learn about liberal education, navigating the classroom, the tenets of social justice, and much more.

From 3-6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19, students will participate in community service projects designed to demonstrate the university’s commitment to community engagement and service. Each student has been assigned one of 14 community service projects. The projects range from meal packaging for several agencies to park cleanup at several local community parks.

Ramdition week concludes on Saturday, Aug. 20 with Through the Archway:A Rite of Passage Ceremony scheduled for 9:30 a.m. During the ceremony, students will participate in a processionalled by the sophomore class, the Student Government Association, and Chancellor Elwood Robinsonthrough the stone arches on campus in an event that symbolizes their transition from “lambs” to “Rams.” Along the processional route, students are greeted by faculty, staff, administration, and their families. Additionally, alumni cheer for students along the route with signs displaying their graduation year. The ceremony will be followed by a Family Day Cookout and an opportunity to meet the student athletes participating in fall sports.

The Ramdition tradition began in 2009 under the leadership of the late Michelle Releford. At the time, Releford served as the Dean of University College. In a 2009 letter to the new fall class, Releford stated that Ramdition was specifically designed for students’ education and enjoyment. This experience will help new students to connect early and successfully to a number of campus resources.

“While Ramdition has adhered to its original tenets, it has managed to evolve through the years by staying relevant in an ever-changing, diverse, and complex global society,” said Kathy Stitts, associate provost and dean of University College and Lifelong Learning. “We’ve incorporated curricular and co-curricular programming in varying formats to provide students a more holistic Ram experience.”

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