Welcome Week is a rite of passage for college students across the country. It’s the way that college campuses ‘seal the deal’ and make you think, “I think I’m going to like it here.” The face you show at the events and parties during the first 72 hours you’re on campus will set your place for the next four years.
Just kidding. Welcome Week events are super fun for those who go and if you don’t go or do other activities, it doesn’t matter.
The University of Toledo does their Welcome Week events very well, making sure to include different things that appeal to the vast majority of freshman. Free food, free clothing and giveaways are enough to entice even the oldest student on UT’s campus and it works well to bring freshman to an event.
But looking back on it two years later, I wish I would’ve gone when I was a freshman. I missed all of the welcome week activities and parties because of marching band practice. Now in my junior year, I wondered what it would be like to have attended Welcome Week like a true freshman. But why couldn’t I still do that now? What was stopping me? Honestly, I needed a buddy.
You can’t party like a freshman by yourself.
I recruited fellow junior Jessica Harker, editor-in-chief of the Independent Collegian. She also never went to any events during welcome week. Not because of marching band, but because she ‘didn’t feel like it at the time’. Psh. Whatever, she was going to go to them now.
So we set out to become freshman again because college is only as fun as you make it. We grabbed our list of events and tried narrowing down the list to a more manageable calendar. It was harder than I thought. We couldn’t possibly go to everything because we have jobs and don’t live on campus anymore. So we chose what we thought were the four most popular events.
First up was the bonfire. We showed up an hour late, like normal people do, but quickly realized that we made a rookie mistake.
The Flatlands were filled with freshman milling about. We honestly forgot just how many students were on UT’s campus. The annual campus bonfire during welcome week brings out almost every freshman with enticing food, music and prizes (and more free t shirts!).
I quickly got lost in the crowd and felt like a true freshman again. We watched the Blue Crew engage in a dance battle with a freshman student that made the crowd go crazy. But then WXUT announced they were giving away prizes. I just had to win a free t-shirt. I don’t care if I already have 30 UT themed shirts; I need another one. So I moved myself up to the front and answered the next question they shouted out, which happened to be the easiest one.
“What are UT’s school colors?”
I mean, come on. Seriously. But I got a free t-shirt and that’s basically what I came to UT for.
The next day, we went to the annual Convocation BBQ. Free food surrounded by fun activities always attracts students and, once again, it did not fail to disappoint. The Toft’s ice cream was a real big hit with us, as was watching other students fall off the rodeo shark and get knocked out by the inflatable sweeper arm. We even saw UT’s Dean of Students, Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, dancing along with students to the Wop.
Then we chilled until it was time for the CAP Foam Party. And when I say foam party, I mean FOAM party. Basically, a bunch of freshman shoved inside of this big blowup pool, standing underneath a bubble machine. It looked like a communal bath, but insanely fun. Jessica and wandered around and watched as students shoved bubbles into each other’s faces.
Then there was the annual Slip N’ Slide. Boy, it is crazy. Free pizza, Brew Toledo coffee and a chance to break a leg or arm? Best time ever. Students slide down Parks Tower hill and try to not to die as they do so.
We came, we saw, we conquered. But, in the end, we’re just not freshmen anymore. We don’t live on campus and have too busy lives to even think about partying for four straight days. But that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the time and effort students and administrators put in to host these events. We love the opportunity that it creates for students to have the “true” college experience.