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students at welina manoa
(Photo courtesy: Mānoa Now)

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa welcomed more than 700 new students to the campus at its annual Welina Mānoa: First Day of School Kick-Off Event on September 22. Usually held on the first day of fall semester, the one-stop resource fair held throughout Campus Center was postponed in August due inclement weather conditions.

students at welina manoa
(Photo courtesy: UH Athletics)

“I loved that there was tons of diversity in the programs that were represented. It was great seeing so many students come out, there was something for everyone!” said Kyra Prokuski, an undergraduate student.

This year’s Welina Mānoa, which means “welcome to Mānoa,” was scaled down and focused on safely welcoming the students during three sessions to allow for booth participants to rotate in and out. Students were introduced to about 40 student organizations, academic departments, programs and support services on campus, and had opportunities to win various prizes and enter giveaways.

All attendees wore masks, socially distanced and were prepared with their LumiSight UH clearance in hand.

“While it is a far cry from our ‘normal’ first day of school event that draws 2,000 attendees, we thought it was a successful, safe event during this transition semester. Students picked up tons of free swag and learned about academic and support programs,” said Lori M. Ideta, UH Mānoa vice provost for student success.

students at welina manoa
(Photo courtesy: Mānoa Now)

“It was great to see students back on campus! The weather was perfect and students were walking away with twinkles in their eyes. It was absolutely amazing!” said Sabrina Fallejo Uganiza, New Student Orientation co-coordinator.

Now in its fifth year, organizers of Welina Mānoa are hopeful for a bigger (and better) return in 2022 depending on progress with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This event is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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