The Fresno State campus is buzzing in preparation for the fall semester that begins Aug. 21 with a renewed campaign to greet about 23,050 students:  “FresWOW” Weeks Of Welcome campaign.

The website was launched today by the Division of Student Affairs  at detailing welcome back events that run Aug. 20-Sept. 24.

Campus activity ramps up next week with several events prior to the start of classes, including international student orientation Aug. 12-13 and University Courtyard Residence Halls move-in Aug. 16-17. The Fall Academic Assembly is Aug. 18 where President Joseph I. Castro will deliver his second state-of-the-campus address to faculty and staff.

But the big push this year on campus is the revamped schedule of welcome back events featuring daily activities for new and continuing students to encourage engagement in student life.

“We want our new students to feel welcomed, comfortable, prepared and a sense of belonging as they start this new chapter of their lives,” said Dr. Frank Lamas, the university’s new vice president for Student Affairs who served the same position at the University of Texas at Arlington for nearly nine years before joining Fresno State July 1.

President’s second year at Central California’s 104-year-old institution features three new administrators.

Joining the president’s cabinet are Lamas, who replaced Dr. Paul M. Oliaro; Paula Castadio, vice president for advancement, who replaced Dr. Peter Smits; and Dr. Lynette Zelezny, former psychology professor and associate provost, who was promoted to provost and vice president for academic affairs in March. Oliaro and Smits retired in the past year.

Lamas oversees 190 employees and 25 student service offices and programs, including enrollment, campus discipline, academic advising, migrant services, student activities and the University Student Union.

Many of the Student Affairs offices are immersed in creating what promises to be Fresno State’s largest welcome back endeavor, said Melissa Ginotti, director of the Student Involvement Office that is co-sponsoring the FresWOW campaign with Associated Students Inc. and the New Student Orientation program (Dog Days) of the Advising Office.

Building on the theme and mission of the Dog Days orientation program held in the summer for freshmen and transfer students, the four-week tradition “will give all students an opportunity to bond as members of the Fresno State Bulldog family,” Ginotti said.

Volunteers and orientation leaders will greet students at booths around campus where maps, planners and other goodies will be given away. They will help new students find classes and provide them with information needed to navigate first-week issues.

Students can also meet with representatives of university programs that provide campus resources. They will get a preview of student life with performances by different clubs and organizations and social gatherings.

It starts with Welcome Wednesday on Aug. 20, the day before classes begin, with information tables and booths, a hamburger and hot dog barbecue   and tours. Students can ask their Financial Aid questions, pay fees and buy football tickets.

Other FresWOW activities include:

  • Luau Pool Party Aug. 22 to give students a chance to use the Olympic-size pool at the Fresno State Aquatics Center on campus.
  • Student Community Service Project Aug. 23 when students can volunteer at the Bulldog Pantry and Wesley Community Center.
  • Traditions Day Aug. 27 featuring the Student Organization Fair with Fresno State ice cream and grilled corn, the spirit team  and marching band.
  • A ‘Dogs Convoy Aug. 30 will begin on a double-decker bus headed to USC to support the Bulldogs in the first game of the 2014 football season. For bus ticket info: 559.278. 2078.
  • Community Service Opportunities Fair Sept. 3 will present students with opportunities for involvement in their community.
  • SAFARI Sept. 10 will feature representatives from Student Affairs offices at resource tables with giveaways.

The full updated schedule of events is at

For more information, call the Student Involvement Center at 559.278.2741 or Jessica Medina at 559.278.7121.

(University Communications news assistants Akyia Westley contributed to this report.)

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