Forget sunny tropical beaches or peaceful mountain trails.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln was the must-see summer vacation destination for Jackson Moffett and his family.
A member of the class of 2020, Moffett traveled more than 1,450 miles by car with his parents and two sisters to participate in UNL’s Power Up Weekend on June 10-12. Organized by New Student Enrollment, Power Up Weekend is an extended campus orientation program that offers incoming freshmen a preview of campus life.
“Since I’m the first member of my family to go to college and I won’t know anyone here, we thought this would be a good way to get me ready for the fall semester,” Moffett said. “And, the trip was a chance for some family bonding before I leave home.”
As family members check into downtown hotels and explore Lincoln, Power-Up Weekend students stay in campus residence halls, eat in UNL dining halls, take part in a variety of activities and attend presentations. Overall, the event helps incoming students develop contacts and build a support network central to their success as new students.
“The students who attend Power Up Weekend are primarily from out of state,” said Patrick McBride, associate dean for New Student Enrollment. “The program helps lower apprehension students and parents have about coming to the university. It also is something that is beneficial with student retention.”
UNL launched the Power Up Weekend in 2008, modeling it after a similar program at the University of Oklahoma. Last summer, university officials combined the weekend program with new student enrollment activities. The switch resulted in a sharp increase in attendance.
McBride said the initial program goal was to register 200 students. By combining new student enrollment activities on a Friday or Monday with the extended weekend orientation, Power Up Weekend drew 230 students in summer 2015. This year, 350 incoming students participated. The record before combining the programs was 120 students.
“It’s taken us a few years, but the program has finally popped,” McBride said. “And, now we’ve almost reached our maximum of 400 students. If it continues to grow, we’ll have to consider making changes or adding another weekend.”
To help students make connections, they are divided into teams of about 20. These teams work together during key activities — including team building events led by members of UNL’s Outdoor Adventures Center and a campus scavenger hunt. Team members share contact information and are encouraged to reach out to each other in the fall semester. McBride said the teams will also get together for an activity (like a movie or meal) in the first few weeks of class.
Additional Power Up Weekend activities offered this year included multicultural presentations, participation in the Gallup Strengths program, a magic show at the Rococo Theater, ice cream social and a party at the East Union.
“It’s really been fun meeting people and making connections before I arrive on campus in the fall,” Moffett said. “I was a little worried about not knowing anyone on campus. But this weekend has really helped me put those fears to rest. Now, I can’t wait to get back here and be a Husker.”
For more information about New Student Enrollment activities at UNL, click here.