The Woo Crew welcomed new students during Summer Enrollment Days and Orientation. 

Woo Crew Welcome

By Carly Hanson ’14

Read this story and more in the Morningsider (Fall 2021 Issue)

The new University Engagement department was established in 2020 and tasked with the responsibility of building upon the success of Morningside Orientation and finding opportunities for innovation. Vice President of University Engagement Erin Edlund and her team worked together to reimagine aspects of welcoming new students to campus, including giving a refresh to the group of student leaders who help welcome first-year students and their families.woo crew selfieWOO Crew members snap a selfie during Summer Enrollment Days in June 2021. L to R: Katherine Wurtz, Ridge Hoffman, Sarah Severes, Chandler Todd, Kailani Peru.

Summer Enrollment Days and Orientation set the stage for a new student’s Morningside experience. The students who help with these events do so much more than help incoming freshmen find their dorm room. They provide support and enthusiasm that makes Morningside feel like home from day one. This year, the orientation student assistants (OSAs) transformed into a new group called the WOO Crew. WOO stands for welcome and orientation organizers, and this team truly lives up to the WOO in its name. Decked out in matching WOO Crew shirts, Morningside dad hats, and Mustang fanny packs, the goal of the WOO Crew is to help new students and their families feel welcomed and excited to begin their Morningside journey.

For many incoming freshmen, Summer Enrollment Days and Orientation mark the first time they’ve been back to campus since their initial visit. Along with the admissions team, the WOO Crew helps students navigate these uncharted waters and prepare for the school year. The importance of this role is not lost on the WOO Crew members, especially those who experienced a more lowkey orientation last year due to COVID-19.

“Even though my orientation was different last fall because of COVID-19, I still appreciated how hard the staff worked to make us feel welcomed and informed about Morningside,” said Brian Nathaniel, a WOO Crew team lead and sophomore international affairs and business administration major from Sioux City. “I love that the WOO Crew gets to help new students feel special and excited about starting college.”

Incoming students were first introduced to the WOO Crew on the Morningside Class of 2025 Instagram page, a private profile for freshmen to connect with each other before Summer Enrollment Days and get a sneak peek of life at Morningside. Each WOO Crew member shared a selfie and a few words of encouragement to give the new students a glimpse of who would later be their orientation group leaders. Connecting with the students on social media and in-person helps the new students feel like part of the Morningside community before school starts, says WOO Crew team lead Sarah Severes. By making those connections early, new students can start their first year with the confidence of already knowing people on campus.woo crew social brianIncoming students were first introduced to the WOO Crew on the Morningside Class of 2025 Instagram page, a private profile for freshmen to connect with each other before Summer Enrollment Days.

“I love the Morningside community because there are so many great people who want to support each other, and that’s exactly what the WOO Crew is all about,” said Sarah, a junior nursing major from Omaha, Neb. “We have had so much fun together and I think the new students and their families can tell that the energy of the WOO Crew is the energy of Morningside.”

The WOO Crew experience culminated Aug. 22-24 during Orientation for the first-year students. For three days, the team welcomed new students and helped them acclimate to campus through a variety of meetings, events, and activities.

“Starting the higher education journey is a major life event. The members of WOO Crew understand that as well as anyone, because they have been where our new students are when they arrive. They truly understand the questions and feelings our new students might have, and that peer interaction is invaluable,” said Edlund. “This first go with the WOO Crew and the changes we made to Orientation went exceedingly well. My team and I are looking forward to continuing to ensure that the welcome we give new Morningsiders is the best that it can be, and sets our students up for a successful Morningside experience.”