UPDATE: Off-campus WOW activities still allowed, Cal Poly officials say

nwilson@thetribunenews.comMay 23, 2012 

Cal Poly freshmen participating in Week of Welcome leave their mark on Bubblegum Alley during a tour of downtown San Luis Obispo in 2006.

JOE JOHNSTON — The Tribune Buy Photo

UPDATE 4:39 p.m.: Cal Poly’s orientation coordinator has drafted a letter to student orientation leaders apologizing for confusion that arose from her announcement Tuesday evening about the Week of Welcome programming.

The letter says that WOW students will continue to participate in off-campus activities such as hiking, kayaking and downtown visits.

Andrene Kaiwi-Lenting spoke to next year’s WOW leaders on Tuesday. Prospective WOW leader Logan Cooper said he and others were told that off-campus activities would be limited to the service day and that other traditional off-campus outings wouldn’t take place.

Cooper said that the announcement upset many of the 750 student WOW leaders who remembered their initiation to the San Luis Obispo community fondly.

“I want to apologize for confusion that has arisen from my announcement last evening,” Kaiwi-Lenting said in her letter. “I misunderstood the shift to more campus activities as meaning an elimination of the off-campus portion of the WOW program.”

Preston Allen, Cal Poly’s interim vice president for student affairs, also wrote a letter, saying officials have “every intention not only of preserving the quality of the experience, but also of improving and enriching it.”

Allen wrote that “I am in the process of working with the WOW planning group to review and discuss how to best communicate the planned activities to the students.”

Messages from Cal Poly officials about WOW

Letter from Week of Welcome coordinator

Cal Poly reply to WOW letters

Original story: Cal Poly students have started a petition and plan to hold a protest on May 31, saying that off-campus activities during Week of Welcome won’t be allowed this fall, except for volunteering at the university’s “Day of Service.”

WOW is the university’s annual, weeklong orientation for new students. The program have included an introduction to facilities and programs on campus, as well as planned activities in the community, such as hikes, kayaking and downtown gatherings. The Day of Service involves volunteering with local community organizations.

Cal Poly’s spokeswoman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

But some students have voiced their opposition to the decision and hope to change university officials' minds.

“That means no hiking Bishops, no kayaking, no beach, no downtown, and no to anything else we loved doing off-campus during WOW,” the petition states. “... Though the WOW leaders are making the best of the new situation, there's no harm voicing our concerns to the leaders who failed to consider us, the student body, in the discussion process.”

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