New Student Experience Team 2021

The CUW New Student Experience (NSE) team has been planning all summer to greet incoming students with an unforgettable Welcome Weekend.

Getting ready for that first year of college—perhaps moving away from your parents’ home for the first time ever—can bring an intense mix of emotions. Excitement. Exhilaration. Anticipation. But also anxiety. Uncertainty. And even fear.

Fall Welcome Weekend at Concordia University Wisconsin is designed to help channel all of these feelings into a fun-filled and informative experience that sets the tone for the school year to come—and beyond.

August 26-29, 2021: View the full CUW Fall Welcome Weekend schedule

As is the tradition, students will be welcomed with great fanfare, including helpful and enthusiastic NSE leaders, informational booths and presentations, the opportunity to go on an off-campus adventure, an appearance by comedian Eric O’Shea (a CUW favorite!), and plenty of fun activities like slip ‘n’ slide kickball, glow-in-the-dark bingo, a scavenger hunt, and more throughout the weekend.

But it doesn’t all just happen. It starts with a team of dedicated student leaders.

“We have a team of 19 NSE leaders, plus one undergraduate intern and one graduate intern,” said Sarah Deheck, CUW coordinator of student activities. “It’s really student-led, which I find amazing! They’ve been working since last spring to plan all the social activities, off-campus adventures, service projects, and more, and now we’re finally going to see their ideas come to life.”

A recent graduate herself (December 2020), Deheck is not that far removed from the student experience. So she, along with her team, has a fresh understanding of what incoming students will be feeling when they arrive on campus.

“What’s really nice about the events being student-led and having me as a recent student is that we understand where the students are coming from,” Deheck explained. “We understand, their excitement, their nervousness, and every emotion in between. So it definitely does give us that unique perspective, where we’re able to connect with the students right away and help them feel like they belong here.”

Senior Logan Snyder, the NSE undergraduate intern, remembers vividly the impact Welcome Weekend made on his new-student experience.

“I was very impressed with all the activities, I did not expect that,” he recalled. “As a new student coming in, I expected it to be a lot more boring, with just the school covering their bases with information. But it turned out that it was a lot more fun! All the meetings were interactive, there were team building exercises going on, meeting people. In fact, that’s how I met two of my best friends to this day.”

Prepare to Launch

The festivities begin on Thursday, August 26, with Freshman Move-in Day. Parents and families are invited to hang around with their students through the “Sending-off Ceremony” at 6:00, where families are “politely asked” to say their good-byes so that the new students can begin their Concordia adventure unencumbered by direct parental influence.

Once everybody gets moved-in (and Mom and Dad are sent packing), one important way the NSE team helps students get settled is through small groups. Each NSE leader is assigned a group of students to call his or her own, which helps cement relationships in ways that larger group activities can’t.

“I know that many different friendships have been formed through those small groups,” Deheck said. “They tend to really get to know each other, and remember that they’re all starting in the same place.”

In keeping with the “mind, body, and spirt” aspect of the Concordia mission, wellness events, such as yoga and Zumba, are also included. Another highlight is the co-curricular fair on Sunday, which gives students the opportunity to learn about and sign up for the many student clubs and organizations offered at CUW.

It’s not just incoming freshman dorm residents that get the VIP treatment. Certain activities focus on commuter students and incoming transfer students, as well. And this year, because last year’s Welcome Week activities were canceled due to the pandemic, second-year students will be invited to take part in certain events, including a 2nd-year Social.

It’s fun. It’s informative. It helps new students channel their excitement and deal with any anxiety they may be feeling. Most importantly, it’s all in the name, with emphasis on the word “Welcome.”

“The most important thing for the incoming students to know about the Concordia experience is that Concordia is a welcoming atmosphere where you are able to meet new people, make new friends, and go to fun events,” Snyder said. “I’m just proud to be part of the team that helps facilitate that process for new students.”

Meet the 2021 NSE Team:

Mattson Wick
New Berlin, WI
Sport and Entertainment Business

Anna Gong
Phoenix, AZ
Psychology & Computer Science

Kennedi Coffman
Duluth, MN
Early Childhood & Elementary Education

Skyler Moyer
Syracuse, NY
Christian Thought & Biblical Languages

Megan Reinke
Watertown, WI

Jordana Burkeland
Oregon, WI
Public Health

Abby McGue
St. Louis, MO
Mass Communication

Zadeiah Juarez
Las Vegas, NV

Christina Slick
Spotsylvania, VA
Elementary Education

Caroline Slick
Spotsylvania, VA
Secondary Education,
Broad Field Social Studies

Emily DeRuyter Slinger, WI
Rehabilitation Science,
Accelerated Pre-PT program

Katie Slominsky
Appleton, WI
Hospitality & Event Management

Lily Bansemar Menomonee Falls, WICommunication Sciences and Disorders

Harrison Hulse
Apex, NC
Applied Theology and Theological Languages

Mackenzie Irwin
Sheboygan Falls, WI
Communication Sciences & Disorders

Andi Bridleman
Kenosha, WI

Dierra Tyra
Milwaukee, WI
Social Work

Mackenzie Larsen
Appleton, WI
Biomedical Science

Kyle Fuller
Roseville, MN
Exercise Physiology & Psychology

Logan Snyder (undergraduate intern)
Franklin, IN
Exercise Physiology

Cassandra Chmielewski (graduate intern)
Milwaukee, WI
Master’s of Education, Marquette University

Sarah Deheck
Sheboygan Falls, WI
Coordinator of Student Activities

For more information about Welcome Weekend and the New Student Experience team, visit


— This story is written by Mike Zimmerman, corporate communications manager for Concordia University Wisconsin. He may be reached at or 262-243-4380.

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