Week of Welcome (WOW) is expected to be partially in-person this year and applications to be an Orientation, or WOW, leader close April 18 at 5:00p.m. 

Since it was first introduced in 1957, WOW typically marks the official start of a student’s academic career at Cal Poly. 

During the activity-filled week before classes start in the fall, new students may learn how to navigate the university experience, make new friends, and get connected on campus and off. Groups of first-year and transfer students are led through activities by their WOW leaders, who are sophomores, juniors or seniors that are trained before leading groups.


Audio by Ava Kershner

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WOW was moved to a virtual format for fall 2020. One of the WOW leaders from the virtual week, Erin Grasty, said the experience was very different from her 2019 in-person experience. 

“I mean compared to in-person WOW, it doesn’t compare,” Grasty said. “It was long days on the computer and that was not fun. Me and my co-leader would get angsty, we wanted to get outside and we were just sitting around all day.”

But now that the fall 2021 quarter is expected to be in-person, in-coming students will get to have a hybrid week of welcome. One of the logistics chairs of the Orientation Leadership Team, Nina Groleau, said that the week will be a blend of in-person and virtual.

“We have the directive to be as much in-person as possible but still following county and state guidelines,” Groleau said. “It’s going to be slightly hybrid where we will still have group leaders in person with smaller pods of WOWies.”

But no matter what format orientation takes, Groleau said that the experience is worth it. 

“I would tell someone who’s on the fence about being a WOW leader that it is an amazing experience for personal and professional growth,” Groleau said. “It’s also great to give back to the new students.”
The training sessions for WOW leaders will include in person and virtual meetings. Students can learn more or apply by visiting the Cal Poly Orientation website.

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