Long standing is the Welcome Week tradition at Weber State University. Started when the school was still a two-year college, the idea was to join students and faculty together and help everyone feel welcomed at the beginning of the new school year.
Judy Hurst, former assistant dean of the WSU Davis campus, attended WSU during the early ’60s, when it was called Weber State College. Hurst remembers celebrating Welcome Week during her time at school. Welcome Week then was similar to what WSU currently has, with many of the school’s clubs and organizations hosting booths.
“But we had silly traditions,” Hurst said. “The freshmen would have to wear green-and-white beanies, and if they were caught without them, they were forced to do pushups.”
Hurst was a member of a sorority, the campus activities board and the first class to graduate from WSU when it became a four-year college in 1964. When she returned in 1984, Welcome Week was no longer celebrated, and the students decided to bring it back.
Bryon Saxton, the activities president during the 1983–84 school year, said a restructuring took place in the student council.
“The year I took office, they had an SBO president and six vice presidents,” Saxton said. “They made a move to reduce the number of VPs and start delegating assignments to committees.”
The change made during Saxton’s presidency resembles WSU’s current senate structure.
Saxton said the credit goes to Jon Southwick for the return of Welcome Week. Southwick was the student body president for 1984–85.
“He was a big activities rah-rah guy who must have been behind the return of Welcome Week,” Saxton said.
Today, Welcome Week serves as the kickoff to a new school year, with games and parties designed to encourage students to get involved. The theme for this year’s Block Party, which will last from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday, is Wildcat Wonderland, which takes its cues from “Alice in Wonderland.” WSU’s various clubs and organizations will be represented with their own booths, each club vying to win the prize for best booth by offering different activities and prizes for passing students while adhering to the Wonderland theme.
Current student body president David Wilson said students can expect a radio station, live bands and a huge surprise from the hockey team at the party. The event is free, though students can pay $5 to participate in Taste of the Town, which features food samples from local vendors to help students find their favorite place to eat in Ogden. Booths will take up the Moench Mall and Stewart Bell Tower plazas.
Welcome Week will end with the annual Foam Party, taking place in the pay lot by the Student Services Building this year and featuring dancing, food and activities.
“Make sure you stop and see all the booths, especially on Friday (the Block Party),” Wilson said. “It’s going to be like what you see on ‘Pitch Perfect.’ Make sure you shop around and see what you want to get involved in for the year.”