From residence hall move in to new student traditions like forming a giant UNC on the lawn in front of Lawrenson Hall, alumni remember a lot about their first semester of UNC and their many other "UNC firsts."

Alumna Valerie Lovato remembers her visit to UNC, her first year residence hall and the areas of campus that she first got involved in.

"I chose unc because I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was a junior in high school. It was the best teacher college around and I could stay in CO. I’m from Arvada and Greeley was far enough away that I would have to stay on campus! I was so excited to live in the residence halls! I stayed through graduation because of the supports I had. I was a part of the Cumbres cohort that lived on campus together and we stayed friends throughout the years. I joined a Latina sorority, Lambda Theta Nu, which helped me stay involved and on campus during weekends and breaks. Then I also became very involved with the Cesar Chavez Cultural Center. I helped with community services and activities. The people I met in and out of the classroom helped me stay and enjoy my experience in Greeley."

Lovato's first visit was to UNC's Denver campus in Lowry and after speaking with an extended campus representative, she choose to pursue her education major on UNC's main campus in Greeley. Assigned to live in the Cumbres living community in Gordon Hall, Lovato lived with and attended classes with the same core group of students, individuals who became lifelong friends.

In looking back, Lovato shares her advice with UNC's newest Bears.

"Stay on campus. Explore the city. Go to events the campus hosts. Try something new (new food, new workout, new restaurant) and go to class!!! Get involved. It’s important to build capacity in each other starting at a young age. The groups, programs and support systems only last for as long as people use them. It’s important to get involved so that future generations can have the same opportunities."

Share Your Memory and Advice

As part of UNC's fall Bear Welcome week, we encourage you to share your favorite UNC first memories, favorite traditions, and even advice for incoming students.

Share your story with us or post your thoughts through @UNCBearsAlumni using #UNCBears.