Chancellor Block welcomes freshman class of 2016 to campus
By Rebecca Kendall September 24, 2012 Category: Student Affairs
New students at welcome event in Drake Stadium Sept. 24, 2012. - UCLA/Reed Hutchinson
Drake Stadium was filled with energy and optimism as freshman and transfer students from 58 countries, 39 states, the District of Columbia and Guam came together this afternoon for UCLA's New Student Welcome.
Following captivating performances by vocal ensembles Signature, Bruin Harmony, Scattertones and Random Voices, the audience settled in for remarks from campus officials. The new students were told they were selected from a record number of applications. The new group includes 5,700 freshmen and roughly 3,200 transfer students.
"We received over 72,000 freshman applications and nearly 19,000 transfer applications, making you the best of the best of those 91,000 applications," said Youlonda Copeland-Morgan, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management.
She also told the students that 31 percent of freshmen and more than 45 percent of transfer students are the first in their families to attend college. "We want you to know that your academic achievements are absolutely stellar, and you show great promise ... You, Bruins, are game-changers. You are barrier-breakers. You are future optimists, and today you are Bruins."
Chancellor Gene Block took the stage to applause and cheers. He shared his congratulations and told the new Bruins they should be proud of their accomplishment in reaching UCLA.
"Each of you has traveled your own distinct and interesting path to be here today, and we're delighted you chose UCLA," Block said. "I happen to believe that UCLA is the very best place to prepare you for an education [so that] you will effectively compete, collaborate and have success in a rapidly changing world. You chose wisely, and I congratulate all of you for becoming Bruins. It's a label of distinction that you'll wear proudly for the rest of your lives."
Block challenged students to raise the bar in everything they do, to get out and vote in the upcoming presidential election, and to get involved with their community, including at Tuesday's annual Volunteer Day. The event, now in its fourth year, will see 7,100 undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents volunteer at more than 50 sites across greater Los Angeles, including schools, parks, shelters and hospitals.
"On behalf of the entire administration, I hope you're going to have an incredible year," Block said. "I'm confident that you're going to have a great year and add to this institution in important ways. So, go Bruins, have a good time, study hard and enjoy UCLA."
David Bocarsly, president of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, shared his tips for success: appreciating every moment spent at UCLA, stepping outside of one's comfort zone and trying new things, appreciating UCLA's incredible diversity, getting involved in activities and organizations, and empowering oneself to make a difference in the community and in the world.
Students had an opportunity earlier in the day to immerse themselves in the campus community by exploring the offerings at the Enormous Activities Fair, held in Wilson Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event featured a wide variety of registered student clubs and organizations, spanning community service groups and Greek life to arts, culture and sports.
"It's a great way to get the clubs' names out there, especially for our club," said fourth-year UCLA student Andrew Kim, captain of UCLA Kendo. Kendo is a modern Japanese martial art of sword-fighting.