Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Greatest Week in College

Some people say Little 500 is IU’s greatest week. For those of you who do not know what Little 500 is, the most basic definition I can give is a week of athletic, residential and just generally fun events, surrounding the Indiana University version of the famous Indianapolis 500 car race. I, on the other hand, believe that Welcome Week far surpasses the fun of Little 5. Welcome Week provides cram-packed days of RPS, Residence Hall Association, Union Board, and other campus club, planned events. And best of all, most of these events are free and include free food. Now, if you’re not in college yet, you will learn once you get here that the word “free”, when it truly means free, is one of the greatest words ever invented.

I think last year I was too overwhelmed and excited about finally being a college student that I didn’t realize the sweet set-up that is Welcome Week. While many other university students at schools across the country move-in just a few days before classes start, here at IU, freshmen Move-In Day is almost a full week before the beginning of the semester. Only in the sheer splendor that is Welcome Week do all the students of a university get to be together and on campus for five days with no classes but just fun events to attend.

Wednesday is a great day to get unpacked, walk around campus, meet the people on your floor and say goodbye to your parents. Thursday is filled with informative meetings and orientations, residence hall events, and a student favorite, CultureFest, where all the culturally-affiliated clubs fill 7th Street near the Showalter Fountain and IU Auditorium and students get to sample fantastic free food. Friday includes lots of open houses at different IU department buildings for students to get acquainted with the resources available to them, RecFest at the HPER Recreational Sports Center has more free food and fun games, Taste of the Union allows students to try free samples from the restaurants in the Indiana Memorial Union, and Midnight Madness gives students a chance to get all the things they realized they left at home at Walmart and win free prizes. Are you catching onto the importance and emphasis of “free”? Like I said, you’ll understand what I mean when you’re a broke college student.

The events go on and on the rest of the weekend, but this year I got the chance to experience a Welcome Week tradition that I skipped out on last year. I guess it was the rush of getting situated in my dorm and meeting new people that I missed the description for “Traditions and Spirit of IU”. This year as an RPS photographer and blogger, I was asked to cover the event by taking pictures. When given the assignment, I thought, “Sure, this could be fun, right?” Let’s just say that when I finished my walk up to Assembly Hall, I was greeted by one of the liveliest and most enthusiastic crowds I’ve seen in my life. Now, if you know anything about IU, you’re probably aware that sports hold a strong place in the tradition and spirit of Indiana University. “Traditions and Spirit” gives students the chance to hear directly from the head coaches of some of IU’s most prominent and successful sports programs about the upcoming seasons. The introductions of the teams is followed by a performance by the always stellar Marching Hundred, whose drum line put on quite a show during Friday’s event. Miss Indiana University teaches the fight song, and the cheer squad teaches some of the popular game cheers. As someone coming from out-of-state, nothing would have given me a better introduction to the heart of Cream and Crimson like “Traditions and Spirit”.

Future freshmen, please learn from my mistake. When it comes time for you to start at IU, go to everything and don’t miss out on the true IU traditions that start with Welcome Week.

Welcome to IU, Class of 2013! Hope you have a great start to your college career!

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