New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

What to expect when you’re expecting: NYU Welcome edition

Here’s our guide to preparing for your first week on campus.
Kevin Wu

In the days following the chaos and excitement of your dorm move-in, you’ll get to experience NYU’s version of student orientation — NYU Welcome. From Aug. 26 to Sept. 15, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in activities, events, bonding experiences and more with your fellow incoming students. It will be your official introduction to NYU and its community before classes begin.

From themed gatherings to parties, NYU Welcome can certainly be fun, but also jam-packed and overwhelming at times. It can be hard to know how to make the most of the university welcome festivities, so here’s a guide for some of the highlights you’ll experience and navigating your first encounter with NYU’s social scene.

Marquee Events

Every day of NYU Welcome includes multiple small events such as themed hangouts for people with different interests and tours meant to acclimate students to campus. The end of each day, however, has some sort of a large marquee event for the whole university. These events are meant to bring together the entire incoming class, and are a great way to get an idea of the culture around campus. They’re also key places to visit with your roommates or to make new friends, because the activity-filled hours help avoid awkward silences. 

While this year’s itinerary has yet to be announced, some of last year’s highlights included the Presidential Welcome and Reality Show — which was required for all first-years — as well as drag bingo, a disco ball, a film festival, a Bob Ross paint night and a comedy show. These events were all relatively well organized last year, and NYU did a pretty good job of picking activities that weren’t corny, but were still appropriate. Our personal favorite was the film festival, which featured short films by incoming Tisch School of the Arts students and was a testament to just how talented they are. Drag bingo and the paint night were also huge hits, and probably likely to return, although I would recommend showing up early as they fill up quickly.

Presidential Welcome & The Reality Show

The Presidential Welcome & Reality Show is a quintessential NYU Welcome experience, and one of the more unique parts of the week. Yes, you will get lost on your way there. Yes, NYU does have a fully choreographed musical about life on campus. Yes, there is a song about a gay party. Cheesy as it sounds, the show is one of the only times you’ll get to be with your whole class before you graduate years from now, and the excitement throughout the whole event is definitely palpable.

The Presidential Welcome starts off with an introduction to every college at NYU — even the ones everyone forgets about — and their deans, as well as a speech from the university president. It then transitions to the Reality Show, which can only be described as an explosion of songs and skits about the many obstacles you’ll face as a new college student. It feels jarring at first, but you’ll actually learn a lot about NYU’s identity if you pay attention. One thing you’ll notice is that this university loves a production. More importantly, it knows academics, sexuality, mental health and every other aspect of college will get overwhelming, and gives you the space and freedom to process them. The show is worth seeing, if only for the shared nostalgia of its psychedelic yet endearing nature.


All university-organized NYU Welcome activities are listed under a special banner on the NYU Mobile app and are also located under the “events” section. The activities are organized by day, and color coded by the kind of event they are. It can be really helpful to look at them in advance, in order to plan what you want to do for each day. The app will also bold any required cohort meetings and orientations that are individual to you, so you don’t miss any of them amid the plethora of optional events going on. I personally recommend taking screenshots of all the activities you’re interested in, as well as their times and locations, in case of technology glitches, or just for better access to them.

The app also gives each student a unique NYU Engage Event Pass, a QR code that needs to be scanned before you enter any NYU Welcome activity, or any other event organized by NYU Engage — the university’s platform for on campus organizations. It’s a good idea to add it to your phone’s wallet app, which will make the lines go a lot faster for everyone.

Dorm Activities

If watching a drag show with 700 people in the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts isn’t your thing, but an “Avatar: The Last Airbender” themed hangout is a little too niche, I highly recommend the happy middle ground that dorm activities provide.

Your dorm’s Residence Hall Council, a group of students in each dorm tasked with organizing programming year-round, will most likely hold some sort of mixer or event in the lounge, and there are far more reasons to go than just the free food. For one, you’re way more likely to stay in touch with a friend that lives in your dorm building, and it’s great to find a person or two to walk to classes and grab meals with. It’s also really helpful to have a few friends that live in your building, in case of an emergency or if your roommate needs the room to themselves one night. 

School-Specific Activities

During NYU Welcome, your school and major may host their own activities and events, some mandatory and others optional. NYU is an academically diverse school, so it can sometimes be hard to find people with similar interests — especially if yours is more niche. These school-specific events are great ways to meet people interested in the same subjects you are, and you might come across some of your future classmates! You’ll also get to meet faculty and advisers, while spending more time with your peers learning about what your program has to offer.

Club Fest

Club Fest can be a daunting experience, with never ending rows of poster boards and overly eager upperclassmen promoting their clubs to overly eager first-years trying to figure out where to go. To ease the stress, NYU Engage has a list of clubs and organizations that you can review before heading over to feel more prepared. I would recommend writing down a list of the ones you want to learn more about, and then leave some time to walk down the isles and explore. NYU has a vast range of clubs — from the cheese club to the quidditch team — you never know what might catch your eye.

NYU Welcome Friendships

Throughout NYU Welcome, you’re going to meet so many people, exchange dozens of Instagram handles daily, and more than likely lose track of who’s who. Oftentimes, the people you meet during your first couple of weeks at NYU are not the people you’ll end up taking group graduation photos with. And that’s OK.

NYU Welcome is the perfect time to experiment and talk to different people, giving you a chance to see who you really click with. It’s also important to stay social and spend time with people. NYU and New York City can make you feel alone, especially when you first arrive, so reach out to the strangers you meet at events and send them that DM to hang out, we promise they’re feeling the same way you are.

Exploring the City

It’s tempting to spend your first day in the city running between Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park and The High Line, especially if you’ve never been. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the gimmicky experiences and touristy attractions, but it’s a good idea to give yourself a few days to get used to campus before you start exploring. .

You don’t want to spend all your money in your first few days here and then feel — emotionally and financially — burnt out. You should also hold off on trying every restaurant in Greenwich Village your first week. NYU holds a Restaurant Week event early in the semester with insane student discounts, and you’ll feel really bummed out to learn that you could’ve gotten that fancy pizza for a fraction of the price.

Besides, this is only your first week. You have plenty of time in the city ahead of you. NYU Welcome experiences won’t be here forever, but that Instagrammable cafe at the end of the street will. Take advantage of the free food, entertainment and opportunities to make friends, and you’ll eventually be able to gauge what is and isn’t worth spending time and money on in New York.

There are an overwhelming number of things to do in the city, but remember that you have four whole years to make the most of it.

Contact Manasa Gudavalli and Naisha Roy at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Manasa Gudavalli
Manasa Gudavalli, Editor-in-Chief
Manasa Gudavalli is a super senior studying a super strange combination of psychology, mathematics, journalism, and chemistry. When they are not editing the Washington Square News, they are probably reading Freud, watching college football, or developing film photos. You can find them on Instagram @manasa.gudavalli and
Naisha Roy
Naisha Roy, Editor-at-Large
Naisha Roy is a second-year studying journalism and Spanish & Linguistics. She loves covering topics like immigration issues and NYU policies. In her free time, she's probably doing the daily crossword or cooking while listening to Taylor Swift. She loves spending her weekends finding cheap food spots around the city with her four best friends. You can reach out to her on Instagram @naisharoy9 if you ever need to rant about how AP Style doesn't use the Oxford Comma.
Kevin Wu
Kevin Wu, Digital Director
Kaiyu (Kevin) Wu is a senior double-majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication and Journalism. He directs everything digital at WSN. You can directly reach him digitally at [email protected].

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