Through four years of college and even for years after, what many students and alumni remember best and most fondly is Welcome Week. Designed as an orientation of sorts for the incoming freshman class, Welcome Week features seminars, speakers and events designed to help freshmen make friends and become acclimated to college life.
Beginning this year on Aug. 23, Welcome Week commenced with the moving in of the College’s freshman class. After the college rituals of lugging what seems like hundreds of boxes up numerous flights of stairs and saying goodbye to tearful parents, most freshmen seem eager to move on to the next, possibly most important collegiate task: making friends.
Luckily for them, most of Welcome Week afforded them with many opportunities to do just that. Every day included numerous activities for freshmen to engage in, all of them designed to help freshmen interact with one another. Many students praised the sheer number and variety of the events Welcome Week offered.
There was a poetry slam, volleyball games, barbecues and the popular Dive-In movie where students watched a movie while swimming and splashing in the Packer Hall pool.
Welcome Week was not all fun and games, however. Freshmen were required to attend mandatory seminars that addressed subjects like underage drinking and sexual assault.
Kari Osmond, a junior womens and gender studies major who appeared in a video shown during “Power of Consent,” a program that seeks to educate students about sexual assault, believed such programs to be extremely important for freshmen.
“This is the first time they’ve been away from home and their first time in a college atmosphere,” Osmond said. “Unfortunately, they may experience things like assault or abuse while here and these programs are a great way to educate.”
Not everyone was thrilled with these mandatory programs. Freshman finance major Meghan Gorczynski said, “The seminars during the day were really boring. It was all common sense things everyone already knew.”
Most of the other Welcome Week activities were widely endorsed by freshmen who acknowledged the ease of making new friends at the offered events.
“Welcome Week was my direct path to meeting Jen,” freshman open options/business major Paul Nichilo said as he pointed out his beaming ambassador. “It helped me find many commonalities with my peers.”
“The dances were the best,” freshman biology major Reema Patel said.
One of the most popular events was, of course, PlayFair, the event which notoriously includes the football field, a megaphone and standing ovations. Designed essentially as a giant icebreaker, the rules and procedures of PlayFair force freshmen to meet as many new people as possible in a short amount of time, creating a scene that includes lots of running, hand-shaking and the impossible task of remembering everyone’s name.
Although Gorczynski acknowledged the fun she had at PlayFair and other activities, she did feel that most people hung out solely with those on their floor, creating a social bubble that was hard to pop.
“I’ve met more people on our floor than at the events,” she said. “They should switch half the floors or something so we interact with more people other than those who live with us.”