Panther Academic Welcome

Panther Academic Welcome (PAW) is your next step in becoming a member of the UWM community! PAW will help to prepare you for a successful first semester of college by focusing on your skills surrounding relationships, self-advocacy, and well-being—three building blocks of academic success. To facilitate the safest and most responsible program, PAW 2020 will consist of two portions: a required online PAW Canvas Course and optional small group experiences.

PAW 2020 

Required: PAW Canvas Course

You will complete a 4-part Canvas Course that educates you further on three building blocks of college success: relationships, self-advocacy, and well-being. You will get an email to your UWM account granting access to the course on Tuesday, 8/24, and it should take around 2 hours to complete.

A PAW hold will be placed on your PAWS account, then removed once you’ve completed the program. Holds will be released daily starting on Monday 8/31.

Optional: PAW Small Groups

**Small Groups ended on 9/1–if you were unable to participate, please check out the Student Involvement website and Fall Welcome calendar to find other ways to begin making connections at UWM!**


Students every year develop new and long-lasting friendships during PAW. We plan to continue that tradition in a safe, socially distanced way by offering optional in-person and online small group experiences between Friday, 8/28 and Tuesday 9/1. Join a group of 10 of your peers, facilitated by an Orientation Leader, to start building new relationships! 

In-person small group experiences will last about 90 minutes and consist of getting to know your peers, hearing about your Orientation Leader and Peer Mentor’s experience at UWM, and getting comfortable with campus. You’ll end the small group by participating in the Coin Toss Tradition! 

Online small group experiences will last about 90 minutes and consist of getting to know your peers, hearing about your Orientation Leader and Peer Mentor’s experience at UWM, and addressing your questions, concerns, and ideas on how to get involved. You’ll end the small group by learning how you can participate in the Coin Toss Tradition!

Sign-Ups for both in-person and online small groups have gone out to your UWM email but are no longer live. If you missed signing up and still want to join, email us at  

Campus Traditions: Coin Toss and Class Photo

If you choose to join an in-person small group, your Orientation Leader and Peer Mentor will guide you through these traditions. 

Coin Toss: If you aren’t able to join a small group, you can still participate! You’ll receive your Class Coin along with your other materials at Fall Welcome Check-In (more info coming soon!) and can toss it into the Fountain any time before the end of the first week of class. Toss your Coin in the fountain prior to 4pm on 9/4 to participate!

Class Photo: Email your photo to We’ll use these submissions to create a Class of 2024 Photo Mosaic! See instructions below!

Safety Precautions

Your health is the top priority during your transition to UWM. A number of mitigation efforts will be undertaken to ensure that you’re as safe as possible during Panther Academic Welcome:

  • All in-person experiences are purely optional and virtual experiences are offered for those not able or comfortable interacting face to face
  • During face to face experiences, all those present will be required to wear face coverings, remain at least 6 feet apart, and groups will be limited to no more than 15 in spaces deemed appropriate by campus authorities
  • Spaces used during PAW will be set up to facilitate social distancing and will utilize signage directing traffic to disperse groups
  • More campus-wide efforts can be found and reviewed on UWM’s Coronavirus announcements website

Class of 2024 Photo Mosaic

The Class Photo is an iconic moment for all new UWM first-year students. In 2020, the tradition continues with the Class of 2024 Photo Mosaic! Submit your photo to participate by following these directions:

  1. Take a selfie that looks like these examples. Use these tips: elbows to top of head, plain background, big smile, Panther Pride!
  2. Edit your image to a square and email the file to as a jpeg file by Tuesday 9/1, subject line: “Class of 2024 Photo Mosaic”
  3. Look out for the Class of 2024 Photo Mosaic on UWM social media during the first couple weeks of class!

All submissions received by 11:59pm on 9/1 will be included in the Class Photo. Submissions sent to indicate that the submitter agrees to the following statement:

Photo Use Disclosure: I understand that the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (“UWM”) may take photographs, video, audiotape and other image and sound-based media of its employees, students, and third parties (collectively, the “Images”). UWM may wish to use such images for educational, promotional, advertising, and other purposes, including, but not limited to printed publications and on its website. Therefore, I hereby freely and voluntarily consent to the use and publication of my participation, picture, and/or likeness by UWM and/or its employees and/or agents for any and all purposes including, but not limited to, educational, promotional, advertising, and trade, through any medium or format as technology may now or in the future allow, including, but not limited to, videotape, audiotape, webcasting, podcasting, film, photograph, television, radio, digital, internet, theater, or exhibition, at any time from this date forward. I further waive any claims against UWM and/or its employees and/or agents based upon or related to its use or publication of my likeness, voice, participation, and/or picture. I freely give this authorization without expectation of compensation.

Why participate in PAW? 

The online Canvas Course is a requirement. Failure to complete the course will funnel you into an ‘at-risk’ group that receives enhanced communications from campus departments, may be required to meet 1-1 with your academic advisor or Peer Mentor, and may lose the ability to amend your course enrollments in your PAWS account. 

Why do we require Panther Academic Welcome? Students that have participated in PAW perform better in their first semester than their peers. Students who were able to attend PAW in 2019 earned higher Fall semester GPAs, were more likely to finish the semester in good academic standing, and were more likely to return for the Spring semester. PAW makes a difference. Join us this Fall online and in-person. 

As a reminder, PAW is required for all new freshmen. Your guest housing privileges in housing will be revoked unless you attend.