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The Hispanic Cultural Center (HCC) welcomed students back with a food truck serving tacos.

Welcome Week: the Good and the Bad

A new school year began and with it came APEX and Welcome Week.

Welcome Week included a wide range of events such as The Taking Care of Business Campus Resource Fair, The Rock the Quad Ice Cream Social, The Freshman Service Project and The SLE Monocle Madness Carnival including a real Ferris Wheel.

While some events were Freshman only, other events were open to all returning students.

Feedback regarding these events has been mixed, including praise and criticism from both Freshman and upperclassmen alike.

Of Welcome Week, one Freshman, Nathan Luther said, “Going to these events definitely helped ready myself to get on campus and made me feel better about coming.”

While another Freshman Hannah Jamson said, “My favorite thing was the color run … [but] my least favorite was finding where everything was.”

From the Quad to the MUC Ballroom, events took place all over campus. Some events even occurred directly or very closely after one another.

Such was the case with the Welcome Back Breakfast from 9-10 AM on Tuesday, August 28th at MUC 120, which was followed by the Bienvenidos: Welcome Back Lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the MUC Plaza.

This can also be expected on Wednesday, September 5th which will see the ANTS Commuter CoffeeBRAKE from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at MUC 112 followed by the Tie Dye Party from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at MUC Plaza.

Jamson added, “[These events] are pretty great as is… [but] it is a little overwhelming having to go to everything… so suddenly.”

Though in celebration of the first week of school and homecoming of both new and returning students, Welcome Week events occur far beyond simply the first school week, lasting from Friday, August 24th through Friday, September 7th. So, more activities ushering the start of this new semester can still be expected.

Of last year’s Welcome Week events, Sopohmore Jillian Bollmann stated, “It wasn’t very organized at all,” saying that this year’s events were an improvement, “from what I’ve heard.”

However, not everybody was able to attend.

Morgan, a Freshman, said, “I’m in the Marching band, so I wasn’t able to go to anything.”

Christopher Johnson, a Sophmore and non-traditional student spoke to the difficulty he feels some commuters faced in attending these events, saying, “If [they’re] a bus commuter… unless they have transportation, anything on Sundays will be off limits.”

Aubree Durrance, a second semester Freshman, non-traditional student and fellow commuter added, “[For] so many people, that’s their main form of transportation or their only one… so if you’re doing things on campus on a Sunday, that really prohibits a lot of people from coming.”

Durrance went on to explain why she, as a non-traditional student, did not attend the Welcome Week events.

“I don’t really associate much with other students unless they’re [non-traditional],” she said, “I feel I fit in better with the people who have had a job or used to be in the army or the people here [who] are just more my age.”

Johnson went on to say, “[These events] tend to try and aim for the most general and so those that are on the outskirts… they’re falling through.”

He also explained the many reasons he feels a student may not have any initial interest or eventually lose interest in attending certain events.

“Half the crowd at events tend to leave when the “freebies” or food run out,” he said, “[Events are] mostly incentive based and so once that incentive’s gone not only is it deterrent, but … Why should I go to future events?”

He also spoke to class mandated event attendance such as concert events with music, and art lectures for art saying that, “-depending upon their beginning mentality, [students] can tend to lose interest in events or those types of events, because they have been required to [attend].”

In spite of this, Johnson said, “it all goes back to the psychological risk-reward model” in which everyone must weigh the possible benefits, such as, “making friends, getting involved, experiencing campus [life]” with the possible problems, “odd schedules, commute times, etc.”

Despite some criticisms, Johnson himself said of the SLE’s Monocle Madness Carnival, “I actually got to try cotton candy for the first time… It was really nice to have that experience at the very least.”

Durrance, who did not attend the Welcome Week events herself did say, “If I had [non-traditional] people to go with, I might be more interested in going to [future events].”

Morgan, who was unable to attend the events due to Marching Band did speak to her belief in the importance of school activities as a whole, saying, “A lot of kids that are in school activities tend to be more successful in life later on,” and, “Everything that you join will have some significance later on in your life and will help you to… succeed.”

The last of the Welcome Week events will be occurring through Friday, September 7th and include but are not limited to the GovsLEAD TED Talk Kickoff, the Vendor Fair and the SGA Elections.

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