UMR to welcome freshmen with week-long orientation

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On August 8, 2005

More than 900 new freshmen enrolled in fall classes at the University of Missouri-Rolla will get their first tastes of college life on Saturday, Aug. 13. And what would be more appropriate to include in their welcoming packages as they prepare for college life than Ramen noodles?

Equipped with a good supply of the economical and belly-filling noodles, the students will get down to the business of moving into residential halls on Saturday. For the next week, leading up to the start of classes on Monday, Aug. 22, UMR is pulling out all the stops to make sure its new students are comfortable and prepared to succeed.

UMR’s Opening Week 2005 includes a fireworks display, academic workshops, a Vegas Night, a radio-controlled car race and a canoe float trip.

“The two things incoming students tell us they worry about are making friends and succeeding academically,” says Patty Frisbee, director of UMR’s New Student Programs. “We try to make them comfortable and get them involved. And, down the line, we think this helps promote student retention.”

One of the highlights of Opening Week is the Project X Competition. Teams of 15-18 students design radio-controlled cars and compete for prizes. On Friday, Aug. 19, the teams will race their cars through campus. Each team will have to figure out a way to enable its car to carry a bridge that will then be used to get the car across a stream.

“UMR is known for its student design teams,” says Frisbee, “and that’s how we got the idea for Project X. We started doing a team design competition during Opening Week last year, and we hope this will become a unique tradition for UMR.”

Designing and racing a radio-controlled car isn’t quite like building a solar car, but the

experience does get the students working together on a group project. The teams earn credits by completing various missions on campus. With the credits, the teams purchase screwdrivers, scissors, glue, paint and other accessories for their cars.

Nikko America donated 60 chassis and accompanying batteries. Prizes are given for creative and competitive design enhancements; teams are also required to submit written project documents.

Members of the most creative team will win the MacGyver Award – a tool box donated by UMR’s Student Council – in honor of the television show. The team with the car that completes the route first wins dinner with UMR Chancellor Gary Thomas.

Five academic workshops featuring UMR faculty start Monday, Aug. 15. Upon the completion of the five-day workshops, students will have an opportunity to test out of some lower-level classes. Students signed up and were approved in advance for the workshops, which include Trigonometry Review, Problem Solving, Safety Lab Class, Communication Workshop and Leadership Workshop.

Students enrolled in the Leadership Workshop are scheduled to go on a float trip. Participation in activities during Opening Week isn’t required, but Frisbee says almost 700 students were involved for the entire week last year.

The incoming freshmen will officially be welcomed to campus during UMR’s New Student Convocation at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 15, in the Student Recreation Center of Gale

Bullman Multi-Purpose Building on campus. UMR graduate Linda Wright, senior advisor of planning for Exxon Mobil Chemical Co., is this year’s convocation speaker. Wright received a chemical engineering degree from UMR in 1988.

The campus community and general public are invited to attend Opening Week events, including the Project X race, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, on campus. More information about Opening Week 2005 and the various events planned is available at

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On August 8, 2005. Posted in News