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SOAR tackles challenges during campus construction

June 2, 2009 By John Lucas

Incoming freshmen and transfer students will begin their transition to campus life at the University of Wisconsin–Madison this week as the first summer SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration) session gets under way on Wednesday, June 3.

More than 6,000 new and transferring students and their parents plan to visit UW–Madison during continuous two-day sessions that run through July 31.

Extensive campus road construction — coupled with the demolition of Union South, the program’s normal home — present additional challenges for the program this year, says Wren Singer, director of the Center for the First-Year Experience, the arm of the Offices of the Dean of Students that runs the program.

The portion of the program normally based in Union South has been moved to Engineering Hall. However, various construction projects are affecting University Avenue, Charter Street and Campus Drive.

“Unfortunately, summer construction is a necessity on a campus of our size,” Singer says. “SOAR takes place in seven campus venues and includes a bus tour, so almost every venue is impacted by these projects.

“On the bright side,” she adds, “we’re taking many steps to try to make navigating campus as easy as possible for SOAR students and parents.”

Among them:

  • Updated construction maps have been posted to the SOAR Web site
  • Construction updates and warnings are being sent in SOAR reminder e-mails one and two weeks prior to a student’s SOAR date.
  • There will be increased campus bus service on the Route 85 circulator from approximately 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Sunday through Friday, when the SOAR program needs to move program participants across campus. (Service on Sunday will only occur during this time.)
  • SOAR-specific signage is up, directing participants to Lot 17 and other SOAR locations.
  • University staff will be present at parking lots, bus stops and tricky intersections to help assist traffic and parking.

Students, faculty and staff are also asked to be patient and assist program participants whenever possible during their stays.

“Try to remember your first time finding your way on campus and give SOAR participants a helping hand if you can,” Singer says.

If you have questions about getting around campus during SOAR, call 608-262-4707 or visit the SOAR Web site.