Students start off new year with roaring welcome

University of the Pacific was brimming with energy as thousands of students returned to campus for Pacific Welcome Aug. 19-27, an action-packed week of events celebrating the start of the new year and designed to build community.

Activities began with a successful move-in, which saw the largest number of returning students living on-campus. New students and families then learned the ropes of college life at orientation before events kicked into high gear for Week of Welcome.

“It’s been absolutely fabulous,” said Vice President for Student Life Maria Blandizzi. “The energy that our students bring back to campus makes it all worth it. We are so excited to welcome our new students as well as our continuing students.”

Starting a new academic journey

The incoming class officially marked the start of their collegiate career with convocation in historic Faye Spanos Concert Hall, where they were introduced to university leaders and heard advice on making the most of their time at Pacific.

“In five short days you will be embarking on a journey that remains the most exciting and the most transformational of anyone’s life—a college education,” President Christopher Callahan told students.

There are more than 1,000 first year and transfer students. Callahan urged them to get engaged by forming close connections with faculty, taking part in university activities and joining any of the 150 student clubs.

Student body President Izzi Gomez ’24 told students to embrace new opportunities and challenges.

“The person sitting in your chair right now will not be the same person who will be crossing the stage in two to four years. By then, you will have learned what it means to be a Pacific Tiger and will be ready for what is next in life,” Gomez said.

Students were then treated to a performance by the Pep Band and showered with confetti by faculty, staff and upper-class students, who lined the walkway outside of Faye Spanos for the traditional Tiger Roar. The entire Pacific community came together afterwards for an all-university luncheon on Knoles Lawn.

See highlights from the Tiger Roar

Throughout the week, there were open houses for each school and college and a variety of tours and workshops on the many resources available.

Returning students provided a glimpse of what lies ahead with the Summer Undergraduate Research Showcase, where they shared findings from their university-sponsored research projects.

“It was my first time conducting original research, so it was extremely challenging,” said political science major Kayleigh Ficke ’25, who conducted a rhetorical analysis of speeches by Argentine politician Eva Perone. “Going through it this summer with my advisor and knowing everyone else was going through the same struggles, it built confidence and I feel more prepared to apply for graduate studies.”

Exploring the area

Friday evening, thousands of students, alumni, faculty, staff and local families packed the Miracle Mile, a popular nearby shopping area, where they could ride a Ferris wheel, browse shops and dine out.

Pacific’s newly launched shuttle took attendees from Burns Tower to the Mile. The shuttle is one of three new sustainable transportation options available for students.

ferris wheel

The Pacific community came together to enjoy food, shopping, music and a ferris wheel during Tiger Prowlin' the Mile. 

Students also had the chance to shop together during a “Target takeover” earlier in the week to pick up last-minute necessities.

Pacific’s inaugural Day of Service on Saturday allowed students to more fully integrate into the community by giving back. More than 350 students volunteered with faculty and staff in a wide range of community service projects across the greater Stockton community.

“As much as we’re invested in helping students acclimate to the campus, we’re also invested in making sure they know that Stockton is their home too,” Blandizzi said.

Finding community

The week of activities provides ample opportunities for students to connect with each other.

The Don and Karen DeRosa University Center Lawn was turned into a festive gathering spot for the Pacific Friday Tiger Fair. While exploring the many clubs, resources and activities available, students had the chance to sing karaoke, enjoy items from the Pacific food truck, play games and win Pacific swag.

“It’s been super fun—the events, all the school activities and getting to know people. I feel like the school has so much to offer,” said first-year student Jas Lopez ’27. “I’m loving my walks across campus from the Quads to the DUC. I feel at home here already, and I’m so excited for next week’s classes.”

students celebrate at asuop concert

Students celebrate the start of the new school year at ASuop's annual block party and concert. 

ASuop, the governing student body, wrapped up the main events with its signature block party on the DeRosa Lawn, which included musical performances, food trucks, giveaways and more.

Throughout the week, Pacific remained committed to its sustainability goals with teams of volunteers who helped people properly sort waste at signature university events. From Sunday through Wednesday, almost 92% of waste generated was diverted from the landfill by being composted or recycled, up from 2022.