UCO ‘Forges’ ahead, begins welcoming students

In-person and virtual festivities began at the University of Central Oklahoma this week as the campus gears up to welcome back students on Monday.

Some events held for Welcome Home Week, Stampede Week and Freshman Forge are not that far removed from year’s past. However, for Fall 2020 masks are required and physical distancing of at least six feet is being employed.

The university has developed many activities to welcome freshmen and returning students alike despite the complications brought on by COVID-19. The events began on Monday and will continue through the week.

The UCO Student Engagement Office is hosting the Freshman Forge In-person Experience in the Nigh Ballrooms, Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“This In-Person experience is designed to teach the information regarding UCO culture and traditions to incoming freshman while also meeting other incoming students,” said Associate Director of Student Engagement Caleb Cash.

Cash explained the fight song, alma mater, chants and cheers are taught as a part of those traditions. The program will also have a diversity activity led by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.

“Since the Forge program this year was changed to a virtual program, we felt it would be a good idea to offer our incoming students a way to connect and learn things we can’t teach virtually,” Cash said. “During this program, all students will be required to wear a mask and be seated in a physically distant manner. This means students will participate in activities 6 ft apart but together in a space.”

There is a virtual ice cream social and week-long virtual scavenger hunt conducted via email. On Monday night, there was an in-person family feud game night.

Coming up in the week students can participate in virtual and in-person events all day every day. Some events are geared towards incoming residents, like the virtual housing party and mixer on Wednesday.

You can also stay up to date with the latest welcome back details with the Centralities email.

Centralities Tuesday edition explained how to prepare for extended classrooms. If necessary, you can test your equipment by attending one or more of the virtual sessions for students.

Centralities will also help to keep you informed of the latest COVID-19 information and resources on campus. There were three new positive cases among the campus community reported last week. The current total reported since June 1 is 25.

These numbers reflect confirmed positive cases reported to the Department of Public Safety among employees and students who have been on campus. For more information on reporting steps and subsequent actions, review the university’s protocol.

Stampede Week is meant to provide connections for everything on campus from joining a fraternity or sorority to getting a job. 

Stampede Week begins Saturday and continues through the first week of classes. HAB poster sales will happen all week and a blood-drive will be held, Tuesday through Friday afternoon.

There will be a student involvement fair and a part-time, full-time job fair as well.

Details for Welcome Back Week and Stampede Week can be found here. Students are required to wear a mask and reminded to bring student identification to any event on campus.

Per UCO policy, in addition to the UCO-branded masks being provided to students, solid cloth face masks and disposable face masks are acceptable. Face masks made of mesh fabric or anything with holes in it; bandanas or T-shirts tied around the face; or, face shields will not be accepted. Your mask must cover your nose and mouth to be effective.

More mask tips and answers to common questions from UCO on masking can be found here.

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