Helping new students feel at home

Cat Crew

Members of Cat Crew are student volunteers that help facilitate UNI Now, an extended orientation program for new students. These volunteers move into the residence halls a week before the start of classes and undergo two days of training before spending the rest of the week with freshmen and transfer students.

Going to college can be somewhat of an emotional roller coaster. Once you step on campus, you’ve opened yourself up to a whole new world of possibilities, but you can also feel like a stranger in a strange land at times.

Fortunately for UNI, Cat Crew is there to unroll the welcome mat.

The purpose of Cat Crew and UNI Now? To help new students get acclimated to UNI.

Cat Crew members organize events and activities during the week prior to the start of classes – and before upperclassmen have moved back to campus – as an opportunity for freshmen and transfer students to engage with their peers, learn more about their university and see all that the campus community has to offer.

This is the second year of UNI Now, and junior elementary education major and Cat Crew member Madison Gavin has said that the program continues to evolve based on helpful feedback, allowing them to better serve the needs of new students.

“We are learning as we grow,” Gavin said.

The activities and events range from educational to recreational, but Gavin would make the case that the opportunity to connect with other students from around campus is arguably the most important component.

“Making connections with the new students, and making connections with Cat Crew members,” Gavin said, when asked what she found to be most rewarding about being a member of Cat Crew. “Just knowing that everything that you do for the program has an impact on someone.”

Gavin also pointed out that Cat Crew is the perfect leadership opportunity for students that are passionate about the university and helping others, and are eager to share their great experience at UNI with incoming students.

Applications for Cat Crew are available in March of spring semesters. To learn more about Cat Crew, visit