Meet Janae Johnson

Gaining a New Perspective on Welcome Week

Every year, Franklin College’s newest students participate in a week of activities ranging from volunteering at the local animal shelter to feasting at the Welcome Week dinner. Welcome Week offers these activities to encourage camaraderie among the new additions to the Franklin College family.

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Welcome Week had to change. Franklin College needed to balance the need for social distancing with the need for group bonding.

Janae JohnsonSophomore Janae Johnson played a major part in ensuring that Welcome Week was a success. As a first-year Launch Mentor, this sociology major assisted incoming students and gained insight into the importance of this annual tradition.

Janae was source of support for her group of students. From helping them navigate campus to being a shoulder to cry on (from six feet away, of course), Janae was an important part of new students’ first days on campus.

“We did a lot of intentional bonding within our groups of 20 students. We did some activities involving telling some secrets about ourselves that made people think, ‘Oh, I also have that about myself.’ And I think that being able to answer those questions helped the freshmen be more comfortable.” – Johnson

Bonding with your class is one step to settling into college life but getting to know upperclassmen – especially during these difficult times – is another important step to making the college your home. So, Welcome Week also incorporated activities that got upperclassmen involved.

“During Welcome Week, there was like a night where even upperclassmen could join in activities that were throughout Dame Mall. The upperclassmen participated and showed the freshmen that people here get engaged. We really are a community.” – Johnson

The success of the modified Welcome Week demonstrated to Janae the importance of giving new students the space to become acclimated to their environment and she is proud to have been a part of it.

“I didn’t realize how much of an impact Welcome Week has on incoming students. And that’s kind of where they meet their first initial friends. I was really glad that I got to be a part of that and be another familiar face they would get to see.” – Johnson

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