Convocation kicks off another year


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Despite the heat, more than 1,000 students crowded into shaded areas of the Pentacrest for Convocation on Sunday.

Students appeared in large crowds to hear from a number of speakers who welcomed them to the community and to the University of Iowa.

“The purpose of this event is to continue what you’ve been learning at OnIowa, but also what it means to be a student at the University of Iowa,” said Lon Moeller, the associate provost for undergraduate education.

There was record attendance at all of the OnIowa programs this year, and Convocation is the event that caps it all off to prepare and excite students for classes, as well as the next four years, said Kate Sojka, the UI director of academic support and new student initiatives.

She said the freshman class is composed of around 4,700 students this year.

Abbie Peterson, a UI junior from Cedar Rapids, served as an OnIowa staff member this year and said she was glad to have the chance to guide 20 freshmen and share her excitement for the program.

UI sophomore and OnIowa staff member Nathan Wille said there was a lot of volunteer work involved with the OnIowa program and he was relieved that it was coming to an end.

He said though it was a lot of hard work, it had its benefits for him as well.

“I’m the one who’s been served by this program,” Wille said.

Though they were unsure what to expect from convocation, UI freshmen Holly Connor and Rianna Roos said they enjoyed their experiences with OnIowa and were looking forward to the coming year.

Overall, the freshmen and other members of the community expressed excitement about the start of the school year.

Provost Barry Butler said he hopes the students strive to reach their academic goals. Each student was handed an envelope and was instructed to open the envelopes at the close of his speech.

Inside the envelopes were golden tassels, which will remind the Class of 2018 of their commitment to the Iowa Challenge to excel, stretch, engage, choose, and serve.

Other speakers at the event also welcomed the incoming class.

UI President Sally Mason said she wanted students to step out of their comfort zones and meet new people.

She said there was a common ground for everyone at the event, even though they may have varying backgrounds and statuses.

Mason said she wants the campus to be a vibrant, open, exciting, and inspiring environment for everyone.

“You’re all students; you’re all Hawkeyes,” she said.

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