UCSB’s annual Week of Welcome festivities kicked off last Friday, presenting attendees with a variety of locally popular activities and expressions of student life — including 100 free activities offered by the Resident Housing Association offering everything from academic fairs to special social and cultural presentations.
The weeklong line of festivities will end this weekend with the Annual Welcome Back concert — featuring electronic music artist Borgore — and an “All-Loco Rally” on Friday, as well as a soccer game against Loyola Marymount on Sunday.
According to RHA president Andrew Soriano, this year’s event benefited from an expanded perspective, as the organization offered events serving all members of the UCSB community.
“Instead of having a Week of Welcome solely based on campus living and the halls, we have more of a campus-wide week of welcome for continuing students as well as incoming students,” Soriano said.
Organizers created a single, unified calendar for all events this year, highlighted with “Signature,” “Specialty” and “Extra Fun” categories. Signature events this year mostly included old staples — like the “How to Get Involved Fair” that introduces new students to opportunities offered through campus groups — or the 20th annual “Fun and Fitness Festival” at the Recreation Center on Wednesday. As an event with one of the most successful turnouts, the fitness festival had over 1,000 attendees on the Faceboook event page for it. The festival also featured a new Instagram contest, and all week long, students leading the “We Gaucho’ Back” campaign wore yellow buttons to encourage questions about various opportunities and college advice.
Chancellor Yang and A.S. President Jonathan Abboud spoke before an estimated 5,000 students during Convocation on Monday, encouraging students to bring a sense of enthusiasm for the comings of the new academic year. During the first day of classes, students can look forward to a Hypnotist show at Corwin Pavilion, which promises to make viewers’ minds “boggled, controlled, and blown,” according to the RHA event’s flyer.
Soriano said most events this year experienced a record turnout, as they were strengthened with increased collaboration between various organizations — such as RHA, Associated Students, The Office of Student Life and other groups — and he said he hopes for a Week of Welcome that fosters a bonding experience amongst all students.
“What I want students to take away is, essentially, a sense of belonging in the UCSB community — just more of a connection to the campus, more of a connection to fellow Gauchos [and] being a part of UCSB as a whole,” Soriano said.