Op-ed: Is Welcome Week worth it?

The Welcome Week programs at AU occur every year with the aim of integrating students into their new Washington, D.C. homes.

The program guides students through the city, beyond the monuments and tourist sites, and shows a new perspective to freshman. Yet this new perspective AU wants freshman to have comes with a price that definitely leaves much to be questioned.

As a freshman that participated in a Welcome Week program, I believe the price for two days worth of exploration is too high, especially when it concerns giving back and exploring the city.

$115 for two days of volunteer work just seems a little strange. It does make sense to pay a fee for the Welcome Week experience. Freshman did receive shirts, breakfast and Metro SmarTrip cards. But are we really getting our money’s worth?

Expectations

When signing up for “Welcome Week,” I convinced myself that it would be worth it. I convinced myself that it would be a whole week of fun activities. Later on I found out that the whole week that was advertised somehow changed into two days. AU is already known for its high tuition rate. Most came to AU knowing that the next four years would be financially difficult.

Tess Harkin, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, agreed.

“I kind of feel like I’m being overcharged to volunteer,” Harkin said. “I had someone break down the cost for me, but a lot of the information we were given was unclear.”

This ambiguity started for me in the beginning of the summer. On a high after being accepted into AU, I took the unclear information given and accepted it out of excitement, expecting it to be the only place to make new friends.

Reality

Although the programs are overpriced, the Welcome Week experience to me has accomplished its goal of bringing people together. But many students have also accomplished the goal of making new friends without participating in the events. Some freshmen created their own “Discover D.C.” at a significantly lower price, organizing their own program to see the city.

“I spent time meeting new people and exploring all that D.C. has to offer. I would say in total I spent around $75,” School of Public Affairs freshman Stephen Brombacher said.

The Welcome Week program I participated in was Press Corps, and I had a wonderful experience through it. I wouldn’t have written this article otherwise. But if you asked me whether or not it was worth $115, I would say no.

Omou Barry is a freshman in the School of Communication.

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