New student rally kicks off fall semester

On Friday, August 19, the Welcome Week Committee held the New Student Rally in the Taylor Center, which aims to give the class of 2026 a warm welcome to Minnesota State University, Mankato. The event featured various speakers, including President Edward Inch and keynote speaker Samuel Oladeji. 

Mark Constantine is a co-chair of the Welcome Week Committee, which is made up of staff from various different departments across campus. The committee comes together in the spring to start preparing for the following fall’s events. 

“We want students to start out understanding that MSU is their home, and we want to set a tone with the spirit of the campus,” said Constantine. “That’s the biggest part– starting on the same page, and giving them a feeling of welcome.” 

The Maverick Machine welcomed students into the building with pep band tunes and Student Government President Emma Zellmer kicked off the event. She was followed by David Jones, the Vice President of Student Affairs. 

President Inch encouraged students to step out of their comfort zone before midterm. 

“Try three new things: meet with one professor, take time to get involved, and use the services available,” said Inch.

Inch also suggested students take advantage of resources such as the counseling center and Student Health Services. 

Most speakers emphasized the importance of involvement outside of the classroom. 

“We want students engaged in campus life. All it takes is one little engagement from people to get people excited, like the Student Events Team or the Maverick Machine,” said Constantine. 

The final speech was given by Oladeji, an automotive engineering senior from Nigeria. He spoke about his long journey to MSU Mankato, following many roadblocks and rejections before he found a home here in Minnesota. 

“You are not considered a failure unless you quit,” said Oladeji.

Kaitlyn Honer was a new student who attended the rally. She decided to attend MSU Mankato because of the mechanical engineering program. 

“Oladeji’s speech was interesting,” said Honer. 

Following the procedures in the Taylor Center, students were encouraged to follow the Maverick Machine to pass through the Alumni Arch, a rite of passage for new students. The path was lined with staff and students cheering them on as they symbolically began a new chapter of their life here at MSU Mankato. 

Students then walked across campus to the University Dining Center, where the Backyard Bash was held due to weather. The event was sponsored by the campus Greek Life, which had tables with more information about upcoming events for new sorority and fraternity recruits. 

New student Emily Wozniak also attended the rally. She found the rally to be fun and a great way to start the new year.

“It was a good way to pep each other up, and I’m really excited for the other activities planned,” Wozniak said. 

The rally also featured a preview of Homecoming events, such as the bonfire, and announced this year’s Homecoming musician, B.o.B. Homecoming 2023 will take place the week of September 23.

Write to Alexandra Tostrud at

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