WCU community gears up for fall semester, anticipates possible enrollment records

More than 5,000 WCU students typically gather in the Central Plaza for Valley Ballyhoo, the annual start-of-fall-semester celebration.

More than 5,000 WCU students typically gather in the Central Plaza for Valley Ballyhoo, the annual start-of-fall-semester celebration.

What went on at freshman move-in? Watch the video. See the photos.

The potential exists for a couple of enrollment records to bite the dust as the Western Carolina University community welcomes new and returning students for fall semester 2016.

Current indicators point to possible high-water marks for both WCU’s total enrollment and freshman enrollment, said Phil Cauley, director of student recruitment and transitions. Fall classes start Monday, Aug. 22, but WCU’s official student headcounts will be an unknown until the end of the 10th class day Friday, Sept. 2, which is “census day” as specified by the University of North Carolina General Administration.

The university’s current record for total enrollment sits at 10,382 students, a mark set in 2014. WCU’s all-time record freshman class numbered 1,859 students and dates back to 1972 and the post-Vietnam enrollment boom. The freshman class has grown steadily since 2007, when it included 1,250 students. “Commitment and registration numbers for first-year students point toward a record entering class, but payment and registration deadlines mean that enrollment numbers will remain in flux until census day,” Cauley said.

Week of Welcome

Week of Welcome, a series of events for new and returning students, continues daily through Sunday, Aug. 28.

On Tuesday, Aug. 23, WCU’s Department of Intercultural Affairs will present Unity Fest, a three-program event designed to bring awareness to tragedies occurring across the nation and to spread the message of human equity and love. A kickoff breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at Illusions in the University Center will feature a dialogue with Geneva Reed-Veal, the mother of Sandra Bland, who will discuss how to build unity through tragedy. Other speakers include photographer Cendino Teme and speaker, actor and recording artist Wess Morgan. More information is available by calling 828-227-2924. RSVPs are requested by Thursday, Aug. 18, by contacting Holli Stillman at hbstillman@wcu.edu.

Other activities on the Week of Welcome schedule are a presentation by Rajiv Surendra, who portrayed Kevin G. in “Mean Girls,” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, in the Grandroom; a sand volleyball tournament at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, at the Village volleyball court; the First Friday 5-K race at 6 p.m. on Aug. 26; and a concert featuring SoMo at 8 p.m. that day at the Central Plaza.

More information about Week of Welcome events is posted at wow.wcu.edu.