CUNY ‘Welcome Wagon’ surprises Flatlands brothers ahead of fall semester

From left: CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Kingsborough Community College President Dr. Claudia Schrader and students Ahsan Ali and Qasim Ali.
Photo by Paul Frangipane

The Kingsborough Community College “Welcome Wagon” made its 30th stop on Aug. 3 in Flatlands, where school officials surprised a pair of students who will start at the school this fall.

“It’s just been incredible to meet a diverse range of students,” said Kingsborough President Dr. Claudia Schrader.

The “KCC Welcome Wagon” made its first stop in early June and has made 30 surprise visits since then, according to Schrader, who hopes the program — which chooses scholars to visit at random — will help ease anxieties of incoming CUNY students who are stuck at home amid the ongoing pandemic, and who are unsure just what their start to college will look like.

“I’m just excited to welcome students and just to lessen their anxiety and applaud their decision,” she said. “This is all very new to them and anything I can do to sort of lessen their anxiety and welcome them into this new environment and this next juncture of their lives, I’m happy to do.”

A socially-distant elbow bump replaced a handshake at the visit.Photo by Paul Frangipane

On Monday, Schrader and CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez gave a warm welcome to the Ali brothers — 21-year-old Ahsan Ali and 19-year-old Qasim Ali, who are heading into CUNY’s Language Immersion Program before studying criminal justice. Their sister, who could not be present for the visit, will be going straight into the school’s English program at the end of the summer.

The Welcome Wagon program, which has also paid visit to transfer students, will continue into the fall, according to CUNY officials, when school leaders will check in on how students are handling the fall semester.