August 22, 2005

C.U. Plans Welcome Weekend

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Welcome Weekend, five days of entertainment to celebrate the Cornell community’s return to campus, kicks off Wednesday with acapella, comedy and dance performance groups at Cornell Night. The Weekend’s events, which also include concerts, dance parties and a gambling night, provide an alcohol-free alternative to the traditional Collegetown block parties.

Welcome Weekend Chair Sharmila Gordon ’06 said she has tried to place more of an emphasis on welcoming the entire Cornell community back to campus with this year’s events.

“Freshmen get orientation but upperclassmen deserve to feel special too when they arrive on campus,” she said. “We’ve also really reached out to the administrators by formally inviting them to events.”

Derek Fodor ’06, Welcome Weekend VP of Finance, said planning the events has helped foster ties between Cornell and Ithaca residents.

“[In getting sponsorship for the weekend] I’ve had to work with local businesses,” he said. “It’s important for dealing with the community.”

New events to Welcome Weekend this year include a Street Fair Saturday night with BBQ, cotton candy, funnel cake, crafts and carnival games. Other new events are the After Class series, which provide entertainment and information about health and fitness on Thursday and music and the arts Friday, as well as a free picnic with a chicken wings giveaway. All of these events will be held on the Arts Quad.

Welcome Weekend will also feature a dance party Thursday in the newly renovated Trillium and a Casino Night Friday night in Willard Straight Hall with blackjack, craps, poker, roulette and bingo tables, a mocktail bar and hors d’oeuvres. Casino Night prizes include ten Jet Blue travel vouchers and two US Airways tickets good for travel anywhere in the United States, as well as gift certificates from local restaurants and electronics stores.

The Weekend rounds off Sunday with ClubFest, the student activities fair.

Marie-Jouvelle Aubourg ’06, the Weekend’s VP of event management, said the ClubFest is helpful not only for freshmen, but also for upperclassmen who are not aware of the university’s more than 250 clubs.

“We’ve really reached out to all the organizations on campus,” she said. “We want to build a Cornell tradition.”

Aubourg hopes Welcome Weekend will continue to expand and become as large scale and well-known as an event as Slope Day.

“Eventually we want Welcome Weekend to be so big that people at other colleges will know about it,” she said.

Late-night Welcome Weekend activities, such as the “Club Trillum” dance provide an alternative to the usual Collegetown parties during orientation week.

Catherine Holmes, associate dean of students for student activities, said in an e-mail, “I think students really appreciate [alternative events] and yes, the folks in Ithaca appreciate that there’s something great for students to do in addition to checking out the C-town scene.”

Welcome Weekend began three years ago as part of new student orientation, but has since become its own separate entity run entirely by a student planning committee out of the Dean of Student’s office. The Welcome Weekend executive board has been planning this year’s events since January.

Archived article by Olivia Oran
Sun Staff Writer