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Gimme an M! Gophers welcome class of 2018

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The University of Minnesota welcomed the newest class of Gophers to campus Wednesday during its pride and spirit night at TCF Bank Stadium, the highlight of which was thousands of students molding themselves into a giant M.

Here's how they did it:

Metro residents may have noticed the masses of new U of M students swarming campus this week – first-year students started moving into residence halls Monday. The U, which is welcoming about 5,400 freshman this fall, formally kicked off its nationally renowned welcome week Wednesday.

"We know that if students feel a sense of belonging and connectedness to campus they will be better equipped to succeed in and out of the classroom," Beth Lingren Clark, director of the U of M's Orientation and First-Year Programs,said in a news release. "The welcome week activities allow students to engage with their peers, discover university resources and learn from upperclassmen how to get the most out of their college years.”

Students showed their Gopher pride Wednesday in advance of the Gopher's first football game of the season Thursday at TCF Bank Stadium. First-year students received a complimentary student ticket to the season opener against Eastern Illinois University. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.

Pride and spirit night is just one of many events scheduled for welcome week, which lasts through Labor Day weekend. Other events include a dance party, all-class cookout, small orientation group events, fraternity and sorority recruitment, among others.

Here's a glimpse at the incoming members of the class of 2018, according to Beloit College's annual Mindset List, which looks at the cultural experiences that have shaped the views of students entering college.

Among points on this year's list:

  • Most students were born in 1996.
  • They were in kindergarten during the Sept. 11 attacks.
  • "When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon."
  • "Joe Camel has never introduced one of them to smoking."

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