WSSU welcomes largest freshman class since 2008

Students hold a sign representing the class of 2020 during Ramdition, a week-long orientation for incoming students at WSSU. Last weekend 950 students, the most since 2008, kicked off their college journey during move-in day.

WSSU welcomes largest freshman class since 2008
August 18
07:30 2016

Incoming students first to enter university under new strategic plan



When Greensboro native Oshiana Simmons was making out her list of potential colleges, it began and ended with one school: Winston-Salem State University (WSSU).

Simmons, a nursing major, is one of 950 freshman students that make up the largest incoming class since 2008. Simmons said although it’s closer to home, she never even considered that other HBCU (Historic Black College and University) that wears dark blue and maize.

“There is no place I’d rather be,” she said. “In my opinion, Winston-Salem State is the best HBCU; not just in North Carolina but the country.”

When asked how it felt to be part of one of the largest groups of incoming students in WSSU history, Simmons said, “It’s very exciting to be a part of such a large class of freshmen. I know the class of 2020 is going to do some great things.”

As if being the largest incoming class in nearly a decade isn’t enough added excitement, the class of 2020 is also the first class to enter the university under the new strategic plan that was adopted earlier this year.

The strategic plan has two main purposes.

The first is to advance the focus of liberal arts to a more comprehensive liberal education approach, one that builds knowledge and strengthens intellectual and interpersonal skills.

The second is to give students opportunities to engage important questions within their discipline, community and society at large. Chancellor Elwood Robinson said the plan aims to make WSSU a first-choice university among potential students in N.C. He said under the new plan, every freshman will have at least one internship experience before they graduate.

“I want this university to be the first school students and parents think about” he continued. “That process begins with carving out academic excellence, and I know we have done that.

“We have moved the needle in so many ways when it comes to academic outcomes. The word is really getting out, and our message is starting to resonate with people across the state.”

As part of the rebranding process, the university also unveiled a new logo. The logo, which includes the Winston-Salem skyline seen through the archways on campus that were built in 1930, reflects the faculty and staff’s commitment to advocating for students and providing them a safe and supportive environment to pursue their education.

Robinson said, “We’re trying to send a message that everything we do matters and is important.

“We have the strategic plan and this grand vision about the type of education experience you want your students to have, then you have to market that plan,” he continued. “The new logo is about branding the university to reflect the kind of experience you want to have.”

Last Saturday, Aug. 13, WSSU officially welcomed the newest additions to the Ram family during move-in day. To help students transition into the college life, the class of 2020 has been participating in a week-long orientation. Better known as Ramdition, the week of welcome is an annual tradition.

Ramdition will end with a “Through the Archway” rite of passage ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 20. The first  official day of class for WSSU is set for Monday, Aug. 22.

While scavenger hunts, classroom sessions and campus workshops are still on the list of scheduled  events, the 2016 edition has an added twist. To reflect the changes at the university, students are also getting involved in the community.

According to a press release, each student has been assigned to one of 15 community service projects.

During a phone interview with The Chronicle earlier this week, Robinson said, it is important that students under-stand the importance of serving the community as soon as they step foot on cam-pus. He said, “At WSSU we are looking to shape people that will someday change the world.

“We are looking to educate the whole student and extend the classroom to the campus, the community and the world,” Robinson said.

Although the start of the college journey can be frightening, a number of students said they are ready for the voyage and ready to change the world. A native of Goldsboro, N.C., Jeriq Bryant said although it was hard to say good-bye to his parents, he is ready to see what the future holds.

“I’ve been waiting for this all summer. I’m ready to get started,” he said.

After piecing a giant puzzle together with her fellow classmates inside C.G. O’Kelly Library, Khadijah Smith from Lilllington, N.C., said she is confident that WSSU will make her a better person.

“When I’m a senior and I look back on my four years spent here at WSSU, I know I will be a better person than I am today,” She continued. “That should be everyone’s goal, to become a better person, and I know the faculty and students here at WSSU will help me do that.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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