“Wow! Over 6,700 students attended UCF’s 2009 Welcome Expo which far exceeded the previous record of 2,400 attendees,” says Christopher Quintero, academic counselor/faculty, First Year Advising and Exploration (FYAE). In 1999, the Welcome Expo was initiated by First Year Advising and Exploration with just a few tents and student organizations outside in the heat and rain. “The expo, which is now held in the Pegasus Ballroom, has blossomed into this year’s spectacular success for UCF students, registered student organizations and the UCF community businesses,” said Quintero.

The 2009 Welcome Expo provided a record-setting partnership with the UCF business community where 23 vendors showcased their services with innovation. For example, this was the first year for the Wellness Center’s free massage clinic and Headlines Salon’s free haircuts and consultation. Clinique was set up to do facials and dispense advice on proper cosmetic care. Carl Black of Orlando Pontiac-Buick, GMC displayed some of their new 2010 models just outside the union. Another “first” was having radio station Power 95.3 emcee the event for two hours providing music and entertainment. Dominos provided free pizza and coupons. Vendors included: Macy’s, Florida Hospital Volunteer Services, Humana MarketPOINT, Florida Blood Centers, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, UCF Dining Services, UCF Dispute Resolution Services, Student Government Association, UCF Department of Biology, and the UCF Department of Housing and Residence Life.

Numerous prizes were awarded, thanks to donations from vendors and student groups. Students had the opportunity to discuss academics with faculty and staff regarding majors and course requirements. In addition, clubs and organizations were available to talk with students about their personal growth. UCF and SDES student support services were present to increase student awareness of their benefits on how to wisely choose a major, learn college-level study skills, and utilize tutoring and Supplemental Instruction. Also, students were offered information on academic support, Housing and Residence Life and financial aid, just to name a few.

“Congratulations to all those who participated to make this the greatest Welcome Expo ever,” said Quintero. The expo was hosted by the Office of First Year Experience and Exploration in the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services.