By: Rachel Jasper
Students at Weber State University had a hard time missing the sea of tents and festivities engulfing the campus Friday morning. The eighth annual Block Party, themed “Wildcat Wipeout” this year, brought students and community together to celebrate the beginning of a new semester. More than 100 booths were set up in the center of campus to promote a variety of clubs and organizations.
The purple pancake breakfast kicked off the party.
“This is the fifth year that I have been involved with the purple pancakes,” said Gwen Haycock, catering manager for Sodexo at WSU. “I think the purple pancakes are great because they are purple! We get lots of fun feedback, but it’s really fun to see the reaction of a free pancake. Everybody loves free food.”
The theme was displayed in many ways throughout the booths. Colorful cutout surfboards and beach music playing over loudspeakers were common sights and sounds. The inspiration for the “wipeout” theme was to help students wipe out their back-to-school to-do list. The Block Party made it possible for students to sign up for clubs, check out different majors, and engage with faculty and staff in an easygoing atmosphere instead of sitting in an office.
“My favorite booth that has the best theme was the one giving out Flowrider passes,” said Stacia Kearl, a freshman in the nursing program. “They dressed up in hula skirts and Hawaiian outfits. You could stand in front of a poster to get your picture taken.”
State Fair ribbons were given out to the organization or booth with the best display of theme.
“I think the Weber State rec club has the best representation of the theme,” said Shirah Carrillo, a freshman in business administration. “They had a really fun obstacle course with a slide, beach music and great prizes.”
The Stewart Library also had a booth at the party. Its booth had a fishing game where the winner received an ice cream prize.
“We always think we do the theme well,” said Kathy Paynem, head of reference and information services at the Stewart Library. “Who does the best? We let the judges decide that. What we are really trying to do here is get over the idea that the library is not this kind of horrible place that you only go to when you have to, and that we can make things easier for you. We are actually a fun bunch of people to know.”
A new event that took place this year was the “Taste of the Town.” Ten local restaurants provided food to those who purchased a $5 ticket. The restaurants included Lucky Slice Pizza, Slackwater Grill, GriDeli’s, Subway, Jimmy Johns, 5 Buck Pizza, Pita Pit, University Broiler & Grill, and Barbacoa Grill. This event showcased options for students who want to grab a local bite to eat.
“”Taste of the Town’ gives us an opportunity to expand our customer base, and students love pizza, so it’s a nice opportunity for us, being a new business, to just get out and kind of make face, give menus out and socialize with the students,” said Mike McDonald, owner of Lucky Slice Pizza. “Two of my employees go to school here, so it’s just a good opportunity to get out and be part of the community with Weber State. We’ll definitely do it next year.”
Melisa Bampho, coordinator for “Taste of the Town,” said she considered the event a success.
“It was total success, we sold out completely,” Bampho said. “We decided to sell 500 tickets, which is our goal, so we are definitely going to do it next year. We hope to do more next year as well, bring more people out and have it more of a partnership with the community and with the campus.”
The Block Party was not only a chance for students to explore and get their questions answered about the school semester, but a place for families and the community to enjoy activities and explore local services and events.
“The Block Party allows me to promote the men’s hockey team at Weber State and allows us to get more fans to support us at our games at our home games,” said Landon Ayler, a freshman in the paramedic program.