Dozens of students ate corn dogs, collected school supplies and played games as they kicked off their first day of class at the Back to School Bash on Wednesday.
The free event was organized by Campus Events + Entertainment, one of the largest student-led event planning organizations on campus. During the event, student organizations tabled outside the Student Activity Center and attendees had the opportunity to meet Hook ‘Em, the campus mascot.
“I’m hoping that some freshman stumbles across this and it helps them out a little bit,” said Alex Donovan, E+E vice president of membership.
Donovan, arts and entertainment technologies senior, said he still remembers not noticing if there were events on campus because he was overwhelmed with trying to find his classes during his freshman year. He hopes this event will make it easier for students to recognize and attend the E+E activities throughout the year.
Chemistry sophomore Francisco Rocafuerte attended last year’s event and said this year’s event was larger than last year’s. He said it was comforting to attend the bash and take a break on his first day of class.
“It’s more about just feeling welcomed to the University,” Rocafuerte said. “That’s the most important thing, especially if you’re really nervous about how big the college is and knowing you’re just a number. Events like this really make you feel like you’re part of something larger.”
Ronnie Castillo, an E+E volunteer at the bash, said she likes giving back to the campus community and sharing the events she loves with other students.
“(Events and Entertainment) are responsible for putting on every single event here because we need a life outside of the classroom,” biomedical engineering junior Castillo said.
Castillo said she joined E+E because she needed something to do outside of class. She said she enjoys seeing the relief on other students’ faces as they have fun at college instead of worrying about their GPA, classes or a midterm.
Exercise science senior Nikki Rodriguez said she looked forward to the petting zoo at the Back to School Bash. Rodriguez said she plans to go to more E+E events in the future because the students planning the activities have a good idea of what other college students need.
“Whenever I see that bunny, my stress goes away,” Rodriguez said. “Students know what students like. They’re students as well, so they know free food is a godsend. Animals? Who doesn’t like animals?”