What Does the Word “Welcome” Signify?

A student speaks at Respect the Pack in 2017

Dear Wolfpack Community,

Sheri SchwabIt’s Wolfpack Welcome Week here on campus. I love this time of year, the feeling of excitement and anticipation and perhaps a little bit of nervousness from the students. Truth be told, the faculty and staff feel these same things too. We are all in this together.

I have been thinking about this concept of “welcome” — what does that word, “welcome,” signify? At this time of year, it represents a greeting. We are acknowledging everyone’s return, or for our new employees and new students, a greeting for the first time. It’s joyful, it’s embracing, it’s warm and open.

We strive to make our university a welcoming and inclusive place for all throughout the entire year. Our NC State value of “respect” conveys the hope and expectation that, once you are a part of the Pack, your unique expression of yourself will be valued, and likewise that you are called upon to value the same in others. This will take the effort of each and every one of us to stretch ourselves to meet new people and learn from the amazing variety of places and experiences, life views, hopes, dreams and fears. There will be so many opportunities for these types of interactions and experiences, and I invite you to take part in as many as you can.

In September, the university will be conducting a Campus Climate Survey for all undergraduate and graduate students. This survey, conducted every four years, provides students the opportunity to share their impressions of how we are doing as an institution as it relates to issues of inclusion, diversity and the status of the climate here. The results of this survey will give us valuable information and will be used to shape and guide our ongoing and future efforts in making our campus inclusive and welcoming.

You see, we all share these feelings — excitement, hope, fear, nervousness, joy, pride — and hearing from you will help us understand what we can do to empower our community to thrive.  We all are connected by the Wolfpack experience, as we are likewise connected by our shared humanity, each and every day, and this makes us all more alike than different.

I hope everyone, whether new to NC State or returning, will keep this welcoming spirit all year long.

Sheri L. Schwab, J.D., M.Ed., ‘97
Interim Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity
Title IX and ADA Coordinator
NC State University