Wesleyan hosted the second day of WesFest for the class of 2026 on Friday, April 15. The celebration, which provides admitted students a chance to visit Wesleyan and experience student life, will be held over three Fridays in April this year, marking the first time the University has held in-person WesFest events since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
WesFest offers a series of activities and events for admitted students to see what life at Wesleyan is like, including mock classes, panels with students, and club fairs. However, instead of taking place from Wednesday through Friday in a single week with prospective students staying overnight, as in previous academic years, this year’s WesFest was spread out across three dates throughout the month of April: Friday, April 8; Friday, April 15; and Friday, April 22.
According to Assistant Director of Admission Events Jordan Nyberg, this change was due to hesitations about having current students host prospective students overnight, which was an important part of previous WesFest celebrations.
“We didn’t feel comfortable asking our current students to host prefrosh overnight just yet…so we decided to spread out the fun and host admitted students for 3 Fridays in April,” Nyberg wrote in an email to The Argus. “Admitted students need to respond to their offer by May 1, so we picked the 3 Fridays in the middle of the month to give them the opportunity to visit and have time to reflect afterwards.”
Another change to this year’s WesFest revolved around the dining options available to prospective students. Admitted students have traditionally dined in Usdan Marketplace during WesFest, but because of pandemic-related concerns, students at this year’s WesFest ate at the Bon Appétit food truck.
“Due to [COVID-19] precautions, we couldn’t send visitors to Marketplace for lunch, so we were able to work with [Bon Appétit] to feed everyone using the food truck,” Nyberg wrote. “It takes a lot of extra effort to feed an additional 250 people, but it’s working out really well and visitors are raving about the food!”
While these aspects of WesFest are different this year, one feature of the celebration that has remained is showing admitted students what Wesleyan offers outside of the academic sphere. The Office of Student Involvement aimed to spotlight student organizations and give prospective students a glimpse of the social atmosphere on campus through a Student Involvement Fair on each of the three days of WesFest.
“Groups have come out just to talk to current students about what they do and how they could be involved,” Director of Student Involvement Joanne Rafferty said. “When you come for WesFest, you see a lot of things, but you might not be able to have a lot of conversations with [current] students, so this was just another opportunity for students to be able to do that.”
In addition to the Student Involvement Fairs, this year’s WesFest also included events like undies in Olin, a panel with current first-year students, and an open house at the Shapiro Writing Center.
“I went to the Shapiro Writing Center and talked to the people there,” prospective student Leo Wurgaft said. “I’m interested in creative writing and…I’m a musician. It was nice to hear a lot about the musical community here first-hand. I’ve heard a lot of very good things from non-music majors and about musical involvement.”
While other universities and colleges have similar admitted student events going on throughout the month of April, prospective student Daniel Chian noted that WesFest’s flexibility was a major draw in the lead-up to decision day.
“I went to Vassar [College] last weekend,” Chian said. “There’s way less rigid structure here at WesFest, and I would say I liked that much more. One of my friends goes here, so hopefully I’ll just get toured around, and I’m really looking forward to that food truck.”
Even though most students who came to WesFest had not yet committed, the event impacted their outlook on Wesleyan.
“I’m thinking I will be [a committed student] after today,” prospective student Olivia Verger said. “We had the intro with [President Michael Roth ’78], who was so charismatic. And then I had a first-year student panel, which was spectacular. It was just really a welcoming vibe.”
Despite the changes to WesFest this year, the overarching goal of the celebration remains the same, with the Office of Admission hoping that the events provide admitted students the chance to experience Wesleyan for themselves.
“Our main goal for WesFest is to show our admitted students all we have to offer,” Nyberg wrote. “They can get a small taste of what it is like to be a student here and hopefully say ‘yes’ to Wes!”
Caleb Henning can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.