Unsuspecting passers-by in front the MacVittie Student Union this past Friday night were met with a scene one might expect to find at a carnival.
A bounce house, a blow up obstacle course, a one-on-one jousting arena, extra large pretzels, fountain soda machines and live music were all on hand to greet and sidetrack the migration of students heading out for the night.
"I really wasn't expecting something like this," said freshman Laura DeMarco. "It's really great that they offer an alternative to partying."
When the Buffalo-based band Standard of Living struck their first chord at 9 p.m. sharp, the number of students in attendance was minimal, but as they finished off their second song, the initial handful of people had swelled to a large crowd. The "Weeks of Welcome" committee did their job well; everyone enjoyed the free food, drinks and fun.
Originally created as a "weekend of welcome," the welcoming mat for new and returning students has been greatly extended over the years to the almost five weeks of free activities that students can now enjoy. Starting with the moving in of freshmen, various college departments provide free entertainment, workshops, crafts and events every night until Sept. 22. These range from bands and comedians to barbeques and ice cream socials, to carnivals and bounce houses.
Don't be fooled into believing this array of events is just for fun - according to Charles "Chip" Matthews, director of college union and activities, attendance is also good for you.
"Active involvement in 'Weeks of Welcome' is one of the important ways in which new students can start to become part of the Geneseo experience," Matthews said. By offering experiences where students can mingle and interact, students are encouraged to build up a social network, find areas on a campus where they "fit in," and make Geneseo their home away from home.
Thanks to a variety of departments and organizations, including Student and Campus Life, the Activities Commission, Student Association, and the Department of College Union and Activities, W.O.W. is totally free. And while CAS books most of the major acts, outside groups are encouraged to get involved as well. Grants are available for official student organizations, where they can receive funds to help plan an event during W.O.W. or for Geneseo Late Knight.
W.O.W. runs until Sept. 22, so be sure to go to wow.geneseo.edu to check the calendar of events and see what is happening tonight!