VIDEO: First Day of Welcome Week Successful

When one thinks of the beginning of the college two things come to mind; moving and independence. Washburn welcome week’s first day was that and much more Thursday.

The day started out part pep rally, part birthday party as Washburn President Jerry Farley introduced a couple of items, one quite new and the other quite old.  The old came in the form of the celebration of Ichabod Washburn’s 213th birthday as the university’s namesake was honored with cupcakes handed out by the president to an enthusiastic audience who cheered loudly upon the opening of cupcake boxes. The new came in the form of the new logo that was unveiled as part of the celebration of the arrival of the Sesquicentennial class on campus. The entering class is projected to graduate in 2015 making it the 150th anniversary group of graduates.

After refreshments, Washburn move crew participants moved outside to begin the process of welcoming new students and their families while giving them a hand moving into the dormitories. Like a well-oiled NASCAR pit crew, move crewmembers approached vehicles quickly as they approached the unloading point. Among the helpers was Farley who expressed his feelings about move in day.

“This and graduation are the two most fun times on campus,” said Farley. “This is just really fun because people are coming back, renewing friendships. New students coming in, their parents with them; a lot of tears but there’s a lot of excitement and a lot of energy.”

As new students began the unloading process, the task of unpacking was next on the agenda. Freshman experienced a range of emotions as they settled in for the beginning of the year.

“Its definitely overwhelming,” said Megan Griffin, freshman. “I guess I kind of expected it to be this busy but once it came it was a little scary.”

With other students a family connection made the transition easier as children of Washburn employees were among the new students. Sierra Valdivia, incoming freshman and daughter of Angela Valdivia, office assistant in the Student and Greek Life office commented on her first thoughts of move in day.

“Its a really friendly environment,” said Valdivia. “Just trying to unload the van a load at a time, I thought I’d have to make a few trips but everyone just came and grabbed it for me.”

After the initial rush of move in, students were able to unpack, relax and explore their new home before campus events picked back up at another popular destination in the form of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center which held two events, Playfair and Rock the Rec.

Playfair was a well-attended event with roughly 200 students on the basketball courts as they participated in exercises that allowed them to break the ice and meet fellow new students. Included in the various evolutions of activities was a paper, rock, scissors tournament that ended with two students sitting on peoples’ shoulders as they faced off to see who would win. The event is part of what the SRWC puts on annually for welcome week.

“This event has been going on for several years,” said Joel Bluml, director of the SRWC. “Last year we did this Friday morning on the [Memorial Union] lawn but this year we moved back inside which worked out great with all the heat we’ve been getting this year.”

The other event, Rock the Rec featured a sampling of the different ways that the SRWC provides services to students. Ranging from Zumba to yoga to rock climbing, students were able to get an idea of the different ways that they can get in their exercise while at Washburn.

Overall the first day of welcome week was well received as students begin their adjustment to life in college.

“Its one of the best times of these young peoples’ lives as they will start on this new endeavor,” said Farley.