What Happened To Welcome Back Week?

Kerry Houston

As students returned to campus last week, one thing significantly missing was

the excitement of Welcome Back Week.

Last year, Welcome Back Week was a series of events sponsored by various student groups on campus, such as Student Government Association (SGA), Colgate Activities Board (CAB), the Brothers of Colgate, the Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE) and Konosioni Senior

Honor Society.

The events began the first Monday of classes and included an ice cream social on the Academic Quad, a ThinkFast Game Show at the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop) and a block party on the Village Green, culminating in the 5 & A Dime and Chris Webby Concert on Whitnall Field at the end of

the week.

This year, no SGA-recognized groups approached their Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI) advisor with a plan to submit a proposal to organize another Welcome Back Week, a step necessary for accessing funds from the student

activity fee.

It is estimated that Welcome Back Week 2012 cost a little more than an eighth of the entire student activity fee, which is $433,000 for the fall semester, and the concert alone cost approximately $33,000.

“Last year it was a lot of work and people just don’t realize just how much goes into it, especially during the summer when people aren’t around…I think between the amount of work that went into the last one and recognizing all of those efforts and then the financial resources that run into it and the stewardship of the student activity fee, it was recognized that maybe that amount shouldn’t be dropped into such a small time frame for one semester,” Director of CLSI Michael Maningas said.

“It was really expensive; I think it is a better use of money to spread it out over the rest of the semester,” Co-President of CAB senior Sarah Gilkes said.

The changes in the 2013-2014 academic calendar that accommodate an extended week-long Thanksgiving break also posed a conflict in organizing Welcome Back Week 2013.

“I’m not 100 percent sure why it didn’t happen, but I think it was a scheduling thing. It didn’t really make sense because we couldn’t do it at the beginning of this week because of orientation stuff,” Gilkes said.

Student interest in holding a Welcome Back Week has ebbed and flowed in recent years as this event has only occurred about five times in the last

fourteen years.

Instead, this year SGA-recognized groups have been organizing their own events and activities with the guidance of CLSI to welcome back students

to campus.

“This was not a tradition that got canceled in any way, shape or form-but things like this can be. The angle I continually impress on students is students need to own shaping the landscape. They can’t sit and wait for someone else to do it. If they want these things to occur, they need to be part of the process and not just benefactors in someone else’s efforts,” Maningas said.

“Would we be happy to support stuff like [Welcome Back Week]? Absolutely. But we are going to need students to be the ones driving it forward,”

Maningas said.

CAB has instead submitted a proposal for Winterfest 2013, which has been approved and will occur sometime later

this semester.

Contact Kerry Houston at [email protected]