As per tradition, the Undergraduate Student Government hosted Welcome Week for Baruch College’s incoming freshmen and transfer students. The event generally occurs during the first week of each semester, drawing in large crowds. It is usually advertised as a way to meet fellow students and enjoy school with a series of games and panels. As its name implies, Welcome Week is a weeklong event that can ordinarily be characterized by its giveaways and prizes, courtesy of USG.
Members of USG devise each day of the week to be both fun and informative, a fitting combination for discovering the college environment. Its objective is to attract as many students as possible and promote hype for the upcoming academic year.
Daniel Dornbaum, USG president, indicated that Welcome Week features different events each semester. He also mentioned that Convocation Day actually marks the start of Welcome Week. This year, however, it instead started with a movie night.
On Thursday, Aug. 25, the Multipurpose Room in the Newman Vertical Campus turned into a cozy theater screening 22 Jump Street, the sequel to the original comedy starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Members of USG scattered themselves outside of the area, offering freshly popped popcorn, candy and soda to participants and movie-goers.
Chairs in the Multipurpose Room had been rearranged to create a more cinematic experience for all participants. Despite its setup, however, most partakers seemed to be more fleeting than immersed in the movie. It seemed as though many students were more inclined to start preparing for the upcoming academic year instead of enjoying a movie night with new friends and crunchy snacks.
The second event held the following Monday was livelier and more interactive than the movie night. The second floor lobby and parts of the Bearcat Den in NVC were occupied by giant board games. Two checker boards had been set up on opposite sides of the lobby, while two ambitious players maneuvered the pieces on each board, creating an unexpected game of human checkers.
The board was set up to the far right, farthest from the escalators, with players defending their king pieces, which were represented by friends. The game reached its highest point of intensity when one of the players directed their king to take out the other player’s king.
In addition to human checkers, two Jenga stations were set up on different tables, where players had to remove giant wooden blocks without disturbing any other block. The Jenga stations acted as the source of the most noise since, every so often, a daring tower of wooden blocks would come crashing down to the ground after a reckless move.
Large versions of Connect Four were also made available. Many students tried to keep a steady hand above a giant and functioning Operation table or play a quick game of dominoes. Those who wanted to partake in the fun but did not stumble upon an empty board game created their own; pairs ingeniously combined loose Jenga blocks and discarded checker pieces to emulate something akin to a game of bowling. During this session, which lasted the duration of club hours, USG representatives handed out Subway sandwiches to the masses.
The third day of Welcome Week took the games to the club suite on the third floor, where passersby and frequent gamers got acquainted with air hockey, a seated racing game and rounds of Just Dance. The games, which were installed for the duration of club hours on Tuesday, made the atmosphere reminiscent of an old-time arcade.
The game room is generally popular among Baruch students, who look to it for a refuge or a break after difficult classes or long days. The new additions, however, attracted a medley of students who were either seeking a fun afternoon or poking around the club suite out of sheer curiosity. Many freshmen and unfamiliar faces waded into the game room and discovered the setup. Other participants also included students who regularly hung out in the game room.
The next day was advertised on Facebook as a panel during which members of USG would be able to answer questions and get to know many students in the Baruch community. However, during club hours, the panel shifted to a giveaway stand instead, where students signed up for the USG weekly newsletter in exchange for a drawstring bag, highlighters, pencils and other Baruch gear.
The intention behind having the stand was to expand the subscribers on the weekly newsletter, which provides valuable information to students regarding student life, academics and opportunities.
The same day, various USG members congregated around a table and spoke to concerned freshmen about their goals and anticipations for the upcoming semester. USG representatives answered questions about upcoming events, social life and clubs, and exchanged ideas of potential changes and implementations. This session also doubled as a giveaway and subscription stand.
The last event of Welcome Week fell on Thursday, Sept. 1. Although USG did not host any events or meetings during club hours for new students, its members were preparing for the main event, Last Splash. USG promoted the event extensively as the official culminating experience of the summer.
For the event, the Multipurpose Room had been divided off into two sections: the general section and the drinking section, for those of drinking age. The latter was guarded by an officer who checked identification before allowing students into the open bar. The general section housed a long tabletop decorated with assorted candies and a green, rectangular platform at the front.
The lawn-like surface was positioned in the center of the room. It transformed into a playing field for participants who wished for a shot to win a 4-foot tall teddy bear. The first event gathered many spectators as vying competitors stepped into potato sacks for a race. Entertained onlookers laughed as students hopped around inside an empty sack. The second competition required three teams of two to be duct-taped together for a three-legged race. The objective of the third contest was to toss the most balls into a bucket. Winners of each competition were awarded a giant plush toy.
To the left of the entrance, volunteers ran the carnival game booths. Basketball and darts seemed to be the most popular game, since the lines for both frequently turned into crowds. Participants also had the opportunity to try to knock out all objects on a shelf using their aim or toss a small beanbag into the mouth of a clown. Additionally, there was a game in which students could step up and toss rings to catch onto bottle necks.
The green surface later was transformed into a dance floor, where a few attendees began to split moves alone or with partners. Baruch’s local radio station, WBMB, kept the music playing throughout the festivities. The event unofficially concluded as students trickled out from the space.