CFI, Cat's Back 2009 Seeking Volunteers

Each fall, the University of Houston welcomes students to campus with a celebratory roar.

For many students, the first week of class can be challenging or intimidating. With that in mind, the university hosts Cougars First Impressions (CFI) and “The Cat’s Back.”

During the first two days of the fall semester, Aug. 24-25, more than 500 CFI staff volunteers assist students by answering questions, providing directions and distributing free bottles of water at 18 locations.

“The Cat’s Back” is an afternoon of activities designed to entertain, inform and inspire them. This year, “The Cat’s Back” runs from 4:30 – 7 p.m., Aug. 26 at the University Center. “The Cat’s Back” is now in its seventh year, and faculty and staff members are encouraged to help make this a day to remember for both new and returning students.

“The campus community is invited to lend its time and energy to ‘The Cat’s Back,’” said Kristen Salo, activities adviser for the University Center and Associated Facilities. “There are many areas in which they can assist. We would love to have volunteers welcoming students, serving as casino dealers, passing out T-shirts, setting up our ‘beach’ and cleaning up.”

Among the activities planned for this year’s “Cat’s Back” are a casino, an inflatable obstacle course, beach and sand castle building contest, comedy Show and pep rally. A full schedule of Cat’s Back events will be available on Aug. 1. The event’s Web site can be found at

“Each year, this event grows,” said Keith Kowalka. “It offers students the perfect opportunity to make friends, have fun and learn what Cougar pride is all about.”

To volunteer for “Cat’s Back,” contact Salo at or 713-743-5652.

To volunteer for CFI or for more information, visit

CFI shifts run in two-hour increments from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. To receive a CFI volunteer T-shirt, staff must sign up prior to July 24. The CFI volunteer training session is scheduled for 2-4 p.m., Aug. 20 at the M.D. Anderson Library Rockwell Pavilion.