"Welcome Week" at the University of Minnesota is a time for new students to learn how to navigate the campus that'll be home for the next several months.
And this year learning the ropes means getting acquainted with new security measures implemented on the Twin Cities campus after last school year, which saw a crime surge.
MPR News reports the U of M has hired more campus police officers, restricted access to more of its buildings, and made security a higher priority during the orientation of new students.
"The vibe has changed," Minnesota Student Association President Joelle Stangler tells MPR.
Key cards are now required to gain entry to 140 university buildings, more cameras are monitoring high-traffic outdoor areas, and more buses and escorts will be available during late night and weekend hours.
MPR says the university has put $4 million into the security improvements, which come as more outsiders are passing through campus – on the new light rail line that opened in June, or to see the Minnesota Vikings, who are playing two seasons at the U of M while their new stadium is built.
As WCCO reports, moving in and saying farewell to family can be stressful. The university is pointing students and parents toward a pair of free guidebook apps that can be downloaded and used as references when reassurance is needed or confusion encroaches.
There's also a move-in guide on the U's website with tips to help the arrival go smoothly.
One new innovation this year is a separate list of Welcome Week activities for graduate students. Leaders of the university's Council of Graduate Students tell the Minnesota Daily there's movement away from a longstanding assumption that graduate students don't need an orientation of their own.
Their week includes a tour of a craft brewery and tailgating before Thursday night's Gopher football game, as well as a Friday night concert at Northrup Auditorium that's open to all.