April 24, 2003

University Announces Plans For a New Welcome Weekend

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Representatives from the Office of the Dean of Students announced yesterday their plans for Welcome Weekend, a new campus social event set to take place next fall.

Organizers hope that the non-alcoholic event, which includes concerts, dances and a casino night, will draw students away from the usual Collegetown partying that occurs during orientation week.

“We want to create a new campus tradition with Welcome Weekend,” said Dena Ruebusch ’04, a member of the Welcome Weekend executive committee. “We’d like it to be a campus and community initiative as an alternative to the parties in Collegetown, [including] daytime activities to bring students together,” Ruebusch added.

The tentative schedule for Welcome Weekend will begin on Wednesday, August 27, the day before the start of classes, with a picnic, movie showing and Cornell Night. Festivities resume on Friday with Casino Night and continue through Saturday with a handful of dances and concerts, as well as Cornell on the Commons, an event designed to bring students to activities in downtown Ithaca. Welcome Weekend will draw to a close on Sunday with an “Ithaca is Gorges” day of service, intended to strengthen the bonds between the University and the City.

Mayor Alan Cohen ’81 expressed enthusiasm for the event. “I’m very excited about [Welcome Weekend], I think this is really going to work. The fact that [students] will be able to have fun in a drug-free environment is what this is all about.”

Welcome Weekend organizers sought to include the entire student community in the festivities, rather than opening it only to incoming freshmen. Cornell Night, traditionally for first year students only, has been moved outdoors to the Arts Quad in order to allow room for all Cornellians to attend. Planners also hope that Welcome Weekend will foster closer ties between the student community and Ithaca residents.

Planners have garnered support from a wide array of student and University groups, including Gannett Health Center, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, and the Interfraternity, Panhellenic and Multicultural Greek Letter Councils. Organizers are in the process of searching for corporate sponsors. Current funding for the event is provided by the Dean of Students Office.

Welcome Weekend was developed by the Orientation Steering Committee. An executive committee was formedto plan and implement the event, chaired by Brandon Otto ’03 and advised by Assistant Dean of Students Lisa K’Bedford.

University Police Lt. Kathy R. Zoner was optimistic that Welcome Weekend would help reduce alcohol-related incidents during the opening week of school. “I think it will help out tremendously. People need something fun to do, and when they don’t they go to parties that they might not have an invitation to.”

Student Assembly (S.A.) President Noah Doyle ’03 expressed a similarly positive sentiment regarding the upcoming event. “[The S.A.] is a strong supporter of the effort to make Welcome Weekend an inclusive event for the entire Cornell community.”

Archived article by Jeff Sickelco