Taken by Bryan Tuttle

The 2012-2013 New Student Convocation commenced on Sept. 24, with the arrival of over 3,000 attendees consisting of incoming undergraduates, faculty members, administrators and representatives from student organizations. Taking place as part of UCR’s Highlander Welcome week, the thrilling procession was located at the Student Recreation Center (SRC) followed by an R’rally and a series of HUB events.

In his Sept. 28 Friday Letter, Chancellor White referred to his impressions of welcome week and the efforts of those who prepared for the convocation, “All of this combines to create a vibrancy that infuses renewed life and energy to the campus as we set about our day and year ahead. This vibrancy inspires and gives hope to all through knowledge – its creation and discovery, transmission, application and preservation – so that we can solve the large issues that confront society.”

Orchestrated by Matt Zebley, the Highlander Band welcomed the crowds of eager faces who filled the SRC. The event was soon followed by the National Anthem and Alma Mater, which were sung by 4th year theatre major, Alexandra Franke.

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Jim Sandoval introduced prominent UCR leaders such Chair of the Alumni Association President Mary Schuler, Chair of the Academic Senate Jose Wudka and ASUCR ASUCR President Liam Dow. Speeches of personal responsibility, open curiosity and political activism echoed among the many speakers.

As a shared tradition throughout the ten UC campuses, the ceremony continued with the symbolic lighting of one candle to another by ASUCR President Dow. The motto of “Fiat Lux” or “Let there be light,” represents the arrival of light and knowledge throughout the world.

“The lit candle represents the University and its mission of scholarship, teaching, and service.  The unlit candle represents the new students, the newest members of our campus community.  When this candle is lit it represents welcoming the new students to the campus and at that time all join in to recite the statement of commitment,” stated Assistant Vice Chancellor Andy Plumley in an interview with the Highlander.

Ending remarks included an enlightening speech by Chancellor White of the “top ten list of things to do at UCR.” Recommendations included voter registration, meeting academic faculty members, trekking to the “C” at the Box Springs Mountain and simply pursuing new ventures in college. Topping Chancellor White’s list was the “Long Nights of Arts and Innovation” event, which will take place on Oct. 4 in downtown Riverside. Shuttles will be provided at the flagpole between 6 p.m. and midnight.

Lastly, the R’side rally focused on the performing athletes who encouraged incoming students to participate in one of the 400 organizations and programs that are offered at UCR. Known for having a diverse and service-oriented campus, Chancellor White reminded the incoming class to take pride in present-day accomplishments to future ones that they want to achieve and work towards.

The procession was soon followed by festivities surrounding the HUB and Bell Tower, which included dinner and rock climbing. The Bell Tower illuminated with blue and yellow colors, which matched the surrounded jumpers and decorations. With glimmers of glow-in-the-dark headbands spread throughout the crowd, KUCR hosted performances by local bands such as Max and the Moon, which closed out the night.

“Initially you feel like a small fish in a big ocean….but the Chancellor’s speech really encourages you to try new things and become a new person,” stated incoming first-year math major, Erick Castaneda, as he reflected upon his first day as a Highlander.