Along with the arrival of spring weather, Thursday brought hundreds of prospective freshman and their parents to campus for WesFest 2007, designed to showcase the University to admitted students and encourage them to matriculate. 464 prefrosh attended this year’s event, up slightly from last year’s 453.
“It’s a great event, particularly because a lot of the programming during WesFest are events that are planned by current students and faculty who then submit their event to us for publicity,” said Assistant Dean of Admission Laura Kelley. “A lot of the programming happens organically in that way, and the WesFest program ends up being a great representation of the types of things that happen in the Wesleyan community.”
However, programmers were not limited to faculty and students. Starting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday with Event Registration and ending at 10 p.m. Saturday with Queer Prom, events were scheduled almost around the clock.
The Alumni of Color Network (AOC) sponsored a WESeminar Friday afternoon, entitled “The History of Diversity at Wesleyan” and featuring alumni and students who represented five decades of the University’s commitment to diversity. Parents of current University students could be found in the Office of Admission answering questions from parents of visiting prefrosh in the Parent-to-Parent Panel, which was held at 11 a.m. every day of the festival.
The Office of Admission hired four student interns, Maya Bery ’08, Emily Malkin ’08, Lauren Russman ’09, and Andrew Walker ’09, to help with WesFest planning. Their tasks included planning a Student Activities Fair and organizing various panels. Russman said that finding hosts for prefrosh who requested to stay overnight was a particularly daunting job.
“That was probably our biggest task, as many freshman and sophomores were reluctant,” Russman said. “The handful of really enthusiastic ones made our job much easier, however.”
Though those behind the scenes of WesFest worked hard to schedule the weekend’s many activities, not every visitor chose to plan their time so carefully.
Joel Spector ’11 from Worcester, MA was walking through PAC Saturday afternoon, on his way to the “Talking Chalk” discussion of activism, when he accidentally stumbled upon the Roosevelt Institution’s panel on environmental policy. Spector said that he enjoyed the event, sponsored by the University’s chapter of the nation’s first student-run think tank.
During the first hour of the panel, student visitors representing other chapters of the Roosevelt Institution presented original environmental policy ideas and University members of the Environmental Organizer’s Network (EON) presented ideas for composting.
The second hour consisted of presentations by Professor of Economics Gary Yohe, chairman of the Portland, CT, Clean Energy Task Force Andy Bauer, and Tom Christopher, author of “Compost This Book!”
“I thought it was very good,” Spector said of the symposium. “I liked the different approaches the speakers had, both anecdotal and the data.”
Prefrosh also enjoyed activities such as the Fashion Show, an International Food Fair, and performances of the play “The Family of Mann.”
Perhaps the most popular destination of the weekend, however, involved no planning at all. With temperatures reaching into the high 70s by Saturday, Foss Hill was consistently packed, as countless students and prefrosh parked themselves onto the grassy knoll for the duration of WesFest.