Welcome week holds a storied place in the minds of students arriving at or attending university. A debaucherous yet idealized rite of passage immortalized over and over in American media, the week provides no shortage of opportunities to get wild, and for a good portion of MSU students — very, very drunk.
But at MSU, welcome week no longer exists. At least not technically.
In 2009, the time between freshman convocation and the beginning of classes formerly known as "Welcome Week" was rebranded by MSU administrators "Fall Welcome," shorting the period from five days to three, in an attempt to "reign in partying" and to stop students from "promoting the wrong kind of transition," according to previous State News articles.
East Lansing Police Sargeant Jeff Murphy said in the past two years especially, the days leading up to the beginning of the semester have been considerably more tame.
"We used to see during these weeks large groups of young people walking around with open alcohol, basically just walking around looking for a party to go to," Murphy said. "In the past couple years, and I can't attribute it to any specific thing, people have not been having as many of these large open house parties."
Murphy also cited better police enforcement or improved student education as possibilities, but left the cause for the collective turning down unanswered. He said, though, that the shortened welcoming seems to prevent the party atmosphere from reaching full momentum.
And while MSU's reputation as a hard-partying haven is on the decline, if internet party school rankings can be believed, Fall Welcome still brings a fair degree of raucousness to East Lansing, even if street-filling keggers are a thing of the past.
MSU police Sargeant Florene McGlothian-Taylor said the shorter welcoming period has helped police a great deal, due to the reduced time students have between arrival and the beginning of classes.
She said in order to stay safe during the festivities, students should stick to well-lit areas and "utilize the buddy system."
MSU will certainly provide its omnipresent guides to Fall Welcome safety in every dining hall, but for off-campus students, Murphy said the most prevalent violent crimes before classes begin involve strong-arm robberies of drunk students and theft from houses.
"We know from experience the people that are targeted are the most helpless people they can find, which are the ones that are the most intoxicated and usually by themselves," Murphy said.
To prevent the theft of your belongings, Murphy said the easiest way is to not make parties open to the public.