Campus will be buzzing with people this Saturday, as Concordia will host its premiere Cobber Celebration event from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on March 19 for all students who have been accepted as incoming freshmen next fall.

According to Steve Schaefer, associate director of Admissions, it’s important for prospective students to visit campus. Over 2,000 students have been admitted to Concordia and all of them received invitations to the Cobber Celebration, whether or not they’ve officially decided to be a Concordia student next year. As of Monday morning, 103 students have given their RSVPs to attend the Cobber Celebration.  Schaefer said that the number of RSVPs will continue to rise throughout the week, and he expects the total number of guests to reach about 234 for the event.

“We wanted to extend a special visit to help the decision process,” Schaefer said.

Prospective students can plan their own Cobber Celebration visit around what departments they would like to learn more about. According to Samantha Axvig, director of recruitment, the Knutson Center will be the central hub of activity. At the Knutson Center, students can choose from over 25 hour-long sessions from Residence Life, the library and academics departments. They can also tour residence halls and visit the “Gallery of Involvement” at the Parke Student Leadership Center, which will display the array of clubs and activities available on campus.

“Interaction is important,” Schaefer said. “A [prospective] student can use their interaction with members of the Concordia community to get a feeling for what Concordia is and who the students are.”

If a visit goes well and a student wants to finalize his or her decision to attend Concordia, they can determine their financial aid package, make deposits and figure out their housing information during the Cobber Celebration.

According to Axvig and Shaefer, the idea for a Cobber Celebration has been in the planning stages for awhile; they felt that this year they could finally set things in motion. Planning for the celebration began early first semester after connecting with Mark Krejci, provost and dean of the college, about the idea.

“In planning, the most fun has been staff and faculty being excited with their ideas,” Axvig said. “Everyone has been so onboard and enthusiastic.”

Mark Jensen, a chemistry professor, has been very involved with planning the event. He said that the science department will do their part in helping prospective freshmen feel welcome by hosting an informal meet and greet in Ivers led by current students, faculty members and Concordia alumni. Incoming students can get a glimpse of the special science facilities on campus, research, majors, careers and travel experiences, according to Jensen.

“The main goal is to show what our science departments are all about,” said Jensen. “We want to give students a sense of opportunities both while students and in life after Concordia.”

The athletic department will also be presenting at the event. Larry Papenfuss, chair of physical education and director of athletics, will be speaking at the celebration along with Krecji.

Papenfuss said that he will discuss Concordia’s role in Division III athletics. A Division III college is a plus for students because the emphasis is more on student athletes rather than the sport itself, according to Papenfuss. For this reason, scholarships aren’t given to athletes because they can have more time in the off-season and focus on academics and life outside of their sport.

He said that many students are able to be involved in more than one sport at Concordia because coaches understand the importance of flexibility with the time athletes spend between sports and athletics.

“It is unlikely [for students] to play two sports at a Division I or Division II school,” Papenfuss said. “At Concordia, 10-15 percent of the students are two sport athletes.”

There are more student athletes at Concordia than Minnesota State University in Moorhead and North Dakota State University combined, according to Papenfuss.  Papenfuss said that both MSUM and NDSU – with a combined student number of over 20,000 students — offer 14 sports and have approximately 300 student athletes. Concordia, with about 2800 students, has 22 sports with over 800 participants.

He said that a variety of coaches will be available in Knutson during the lunch hour to meet with prospective students and discuss Division III sports more in-depth.

The Cobber Celebration will end at 3:30 p.m., but visiting students can attend other events on campus, such as the Concordia Dance Marathon, music recitals, the Acoustic Buzz and a high school track meet. With all of the events, there will be good energy flowing throughout campus the entire day. Even though the event is especially for incoming students, Schaefer said that it’s also an all-campus opportunity to celebrate Concordia as a whole.

A complete agenda for the event can be seen at www.cord.edu/Admissions/Visit/celebration1.php.