Jackson State University welcomed hundreds of first-time freshmen, transfer, and returning students to campus Aug. 18-20 during the school’s welcome week themed “1400 Things.” The weeklong tradition also invites first-time freshmen and transfer students to engage in events introducing them to the university.
“We’re very excited to see lots of families moving in. The “one-stop shop” is open, and people are getting in and out very quickly and efficiently, which is always our goal,” said Fran’Cee Brown-McClure, Ph.D., vice president of Student Affairs. “We look forward to having them involved in welcome week and the rest of the academic year.”
The campus appeared full of excited energy as hundreds of students moved into their dorms. Incoming freshman Skye Johnson attributed her decision to attend JSU to her uncle, Shomari Johnson, who is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the HBCU.
“He told me about the school and knew I wanted to have a career in epidemiology, and I knew they had a great public health master’s program before I knew they had a bachelor’s program, so I’m majoring in public health,” said Johnson.
Johnson is from Albany, Georgia, and said she wants to earn a degree that will help her enhance her community. She further explained that JSU’s comforting environment was also a factor in her decision-making process.
“It feels like a family here. Being very introverted, I wanted to go somewhere that feels very welcoming.” Johnson said.
Shomari Johnson said he knew Jackson State would provide the same inviting atmosphere he experienced as an undergraduate student.
“I knew this was one of the few HBCUs that offered a public health program, and it is a top program and the only one [HBCU] in Mississippi, so I knew this would be the best place to cultivate those talents that she has,” said Johnson about his niece.
Dozens of JSU student leaders and upperclassmen volunteered to assist the newcomers and their families with the move-in process and registration. A “one-stop shop” was organized in the student center to create a seamless transition for the newest tigers.
Kierra Allen, a bio premed student, volunteered as a blue ambassador to help guide families through registration. She said she remembers how helpful they were to her as an incoming freshman, and she wanted to do the same for the class of 2026.
“When I first arrived, they were really helpful, and the organization really helps pull people out of their shells,” Allen recalled. “I came here not wanting to engage with people, I was really shy, but now even being a member of the E-Board, I’m more prone to talking to people or being the first to speak up.”
As students and family hauled their luggage into their dorms, move-in volunteers sprang into action to lend a helping hand where needed. SGA President Madison Cathey said this is a great way to leave a lasting impression on the incoming class.
“I love coming back for move-in day because it’s an opportunity for me to connect with new students to kind of calm those nerves, give them a friend, be their first friend on campus and answer any questions they have,” shared Cathey.
The welcome week festivities concluded on Saturday, Aug. 20, following “Thee Merge” by the Sonic Boom of the South, where freshmen and upperclassmen musicians and the prancing J-Settes do a call and response before merging into one.