Welcome Back Days at the University of New Mexico will look different than ever before with an almost entirely virtual lineup of events designed to acclimate students to a socially distanced campus environment. The Student Activities Center has put together various activities and events online because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The week will kick off with a virtual escape room on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m., provided by Nusenda Credit Union. The first 75 attendees to the event will receive a free voucher for a one-topping slice of pizza from the new Dion’s location in the Student Union Building.

Student Activities adviser Andrea Marquez helped organize the week of events and described the longstanding tradition as a communal icebreaker of sorts.

“The Student Activities Center looks forward to Welcome Back Days every year,” Marquez said. “We feel it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the beginning of a new academic year and to bring the whole campus community together to have some fun, learn about new opportunities and to make new friends and professional relationships.”

On Aug. 16 and 24 from 9-11 a.m., there will be a self-directed “Class Crawl” to tour the University. All attendees are required to wear a mask and encouraged to reserve a space online.

Department Information Day will educate students on resources and information regarding the different fields of study UNM has to offer on Aug. 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m over Zoom.

Safety, Health, Wellness and Recreation Day will be held on Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. on UNM’s Instagram page and will feature an interactive workshop on how to beatbox with beatboxing champion SungBeats. The first 75 attendees who stay for the full program will receive a voucher for a free one-topping pizza slice at the UNM Dion’s.

UNM Communities Day will take place on Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. This event highlights the resource centers around campus for various organizations focused around ethnicity, cultural exploration and women.

Student Organization Day is Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. and will offer students virtual information on Greek life and other student organizations on campus. Students will be able to learn about or choose a student organization in which to participate and move between a variety of available sessions.

Also on Aug. 20, mentalist Sean Bott will give a free half-hour long performance on Zoom featuring mind reading, humor and self-care with an extra 15-minute session on empathy and how to thrive in today’s climate.

Finally, a Campus Employment Fair will be held Aug. 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. designed to help students find work-study and student employment positions.

“We are especially thankful that so many (students) are participating this year even though our format for the program has changed so much due to COVID-19,” Marquez said. “We are still committed to providing new and returning Lobos those opportunities to make good connections at UNM and have a successful year.”

Lauren McDonald is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @old_mcdonald25