UC Davis Today: Wow! What a welcome!

  • Campus ambassadors (student employees) sit atop the Welcome Center sign: Michelle Yee, Daniel Quintana, Kevin Shimizu, Trudy Lei, Victoria Cervantes, Nicole Lesnett, Zeenat Yahya and Sarah Barnett.

    Campus ambassadors (student employees) from left: Michelle Yee, Daniel Quintana, Kevin Shimizu, Trudy Lei, Victoria Cervantes, Nicole Lesnett, Zeenat Yahya and Sarah Barnett.

  • The digital wall “living room” at the Welcome Center.

    Step inside, make yourself comfortable.

  • Campus ambassador Ashley Kim assists visitors at the digital wall.

    Campus ambassador Ashley Kim assists visitors at the digital wall.

  • Cheerleader and research lab images on the digital wall.

    The digital wall’s photo selection covers all aspects of the student experience.

  • Stretching an image on the digital wall.

    Touch the wall, stretch the video image and press the start button.

  • Prospective students hang out in the “living room” and lobby.

    Prospective students hang out before or after campus tours.

  • Campus ambassadors Kassi Miller, left, and Victoria Gilland work the front desk.

    Campus ambassadors Kassi Miller, left, and Victoria Gilland work the front desk.

  • The Welcome Center as seen from Vanderhoef Quad.

    The view from Vanderhoef Quad.

  • A tour sets out from the Welcome Center.

    A tour sets out from the Welcome Center.

  • Walter Robinson addresses grand opening program, Sept. 26.

    Walter Robinson, executive director of Undergraduate Admissions, addresses the grand opening program, Sept. 26, on the Vanderhoef Quad.

  • Walter Robinson shouts “Go Ags!” at the grand opening program.

    Robinson shouts “Go Ags!” as the ribbon cutting is about to happen.

  • The ribbon cutting: Linda P.B. Katehi, chancellor; Ralph J. Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor; and student employees Demsina Babazadeh and Brian Jones.

    The scissors crew, from left: Linda P.B. Katehi, chancellor; Ralph J. Hexter, provost and executive vice chancellor; and campus ambassadors Demsina Babazadeh and Brian Jones.

  • Walter Robinson and Chancellor Katehi try the digital wall.

    Robinson and Katehi try out the digital wall.

  • Welcome Center auditorium.

    The auditorium can seat 135.

  • Campus ambassador Michelle Yee checks the inventory in the Welcome Center’s gift shop, run by UC Davis Stores.

    Campus ambassador Michelle Yee checks the inventory in the Welcome Center’s gift shop, run by UC Davis Stores.

  • Milton Lang looks for a souvenir.

    “We’re No. 1.” Milton Lang, associate vice chancellor of Student Affairs, looks for a souvenir.

  • Trio poses at the photo booth.

    Better than a selfie!

  • Reverse side of the Welcome Center sign reads: “University of California, Davis,” over the UC Davis seal.

    The reverse side of the Welcome Center sign.

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Wow! What a welcome!

We call the UC Davis south entry the campus’s new front door. Well, now we have a “front porch” to go with it.

That’s how Walter Robinson, executive director of Undergraduate Admissions, describes the new Welcome Center, which he said “brings the concept of campus hospitality to a new level of excellence.”

Undergraduate Admissions developed the “front porch” in 8,000 square feet of vacant space on the first floor of the Conference Center on the Vanderhoef Quad. A large “Welcome Center” sign beckons visitors from the south entry parking garage kitty-corner from the quad.

The Welcome Center received its own “welcome” on Sept. 26, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that proclaimed the center as the official campus destination for prospective and newly admitted undergraduate students and their families, as well as the visiting public.

“We are delighted to have a world-class facility to welcome our world-class students,” Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter said.

According to Robinson, UC Davis has rolled out a virtual blue and gold carpet. It leads inside to a spacious, comfortable “living room,” so to speak, with a giant entertainment center: a digital, touch-screen wall where multiple people at a time can open individual windows to display videos, photos, the campus map and more. Want to see something bigger? Place your hands on both sides of the image and stretch it.

In “touching” your way through the UC Davis experience, you’ll see photos and videos on academics and research, student life and housing, internship opportunities and athletics, and much more — even a “silent” film starring Gunrock.

Four computers sit nearby, allowing visitors to do some personal exploring, say, about majors and transfer requirements, or to check out the UC Davis website and sign up to receive more information via email.

Campus ambassadors (student employees) are on hand to help with the touchscreen and the computers, and to answer questions. Admissions advisers are available (weekdays) for individual consultations.

The Welcome Center makes the perfect starting place for campus tours (replacing the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center, where tour groups often crowded the lobby).

And now, with a 135-seat auditorium in the Welcome Center, there’s something extra to go with the tours: 30-minute presentations (before weekday tours) on the application and admission process.

Last but not least: The center includes a branch of UC Davis Stores, selling Aggie clothing and other memorabilia, plus beverages and snacks.

“I’m thrilled at the opening of this innovative, elegant space for prospective students, families and guests who visit the campus,” Robinson said.

The Welcome Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Sign up for a tour: online or by phone, (530) 752-8111.

Campus ambassadors (student employees) at the new Welcome Center, from left: Michelle Yee, Daniel Quintana, Kevin Shimizu, Trudy Lei, Victoria Cervantes, Nicole Lesnett, Zeenat Yahya and Sarah Barnett. Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo. The slideshow was photographed by Karin Higgins and Gregory Urquiaga and produced by Dateline UC Davis Editor Dave Jones.

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