c/o Sam Hilton, News Editor

c/o Sam Hilton, Features Editor

Rejuvenated after a relaxing winter break, students arrived back on campus last Monday, Jan. 23, ready to take on the new semester. After moving in and catching up with friends, students adjusted to campus life.

“My sorority girl squeal did come out a few times when reconnecting with my friends,” Minnah Sheikh ’25 said. “It was super nice not just seeing my friends but also other familiar faces, old classmates, and hallmates. I also genuinely love running into people and hearing about their break.”

Students who had been abroad or on leave arrived on campus for the first time since last spring, reconnecting with old friends and moving into their residences for the first time. Ethan Geiger ’24 studied abroad at the University of Oxford during the fall semester.

“Coming back to Wesleyan and seeing all the people after being gone for so long has definitely built a new sense of appreciation for the community we have here,” Geiger said.

Though the completion of study abroad programs marked the end of an era for many, returning to campus reminded students of the communities they had formed during their years at Wesleyan. Nika Marohnic ’24, who studied in Copenhagen, Denmark during the fall semester, enjoyed returning to Wesleyan this spring.

“It has been exciting coming back to Wesleyan and experiencing things in a new light,” Marohnic said.

Several welcome-back events greeted students upon their arrival. These included roller skating with glow-in-the-dark skates, which was offered on Friday, Jan. 27 in Beckham Hall, and WesRave, a dance party on Saturday, Jan. 28, in the Patricelli ’92 Theater. The events were planned by the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) and student organizers.

“The Office of Student Involvement usually plans and hosts events the first weekend back of the fall and spring Semester,” Director of Student Involvement Joanne Rafferty wrote in an email to The Argus. “Generally this is due to student groups not yet having time to plan anything and folks still getting settled back onto campus.”

Ujamaa, the Wesleyan Black Student Union (BSU), planned to have a roller skating event last fall. After Ujamaa was unable to secure funding from the Student Budget Committee of the Wesleyan Student Assembly, OSI decided to incorporate the event into the welcome-back weekend.

“We worked with a company who brought the roller rink and the skates and partnered with the BSU to help us promote and staff the event,” Rafferty wrote.

In addition to glow skating, students were invited to attend WesRave, organized by Adin Dowling ’25. Inspired by the Berlin techno club scene he experienced last summer, Dowling decided to bring his idea to campus.

“I came back [from Berlin] and was kind of obsessing over [the club scene],” Dowling said. “I was like, I have to do something like this [at the University].”

Dowling coordinated with Rafferty, who proposed WesRave to the concert committee and ’92 Theater Manager Joseph Fonseca. Over winter break, he focused on planning the event, compiling music from different students’ playlists and meeting with Semu Namakajo ’01, whose stage name is DJ Reach. The event was a rousing success, with almost 600 attendees. 

“I went to the rave and [was] super impressed with the positive and large turnout of the event,” Oliver Brown ’26 said.

Dowling hopes to make the event more consistent and allow it to serve as a space for students to come together as a community.

“I didn’t see a single person not dancing,” Dowling said. “That’s so nice because you need the kind of space where everyone can feel free to dance. It was a really rewarding process, and I’m glad I did it. I’m excited about the next event.”

These events also provide substance-free spaces, which the OSI hopes to cultivate on campus throughout the coming semester.

“We plan to host more substance free events a couple times a month the rest of this semester,” Rafferty wrote.

Due to a small capacity and high demand, not all who wanted to attend the events were able to. Lines for the events wrapped around the buildings, and many prospective dancers and rollers were turned away.

“We definitely learned some lessons,” Rafferty wrote. “For example, there were a lot of students who waited in line for both roller skating and the rave and were unable to get in. I think if we were to do both events again we would have a sign up system for roller skating where we could have folks come for a certain time slot, and perhaps host it outside so we could have more people at once.”

Taking away important lessons from the events this past weekend, OSI is working currently on events like WesDay to promote community at the University.

“We will have WesDay/Spring Concert again the day after classes end on Thursday, May 11th,” Rafferty wrote. “We are excited to share that along with the Carnival and Food Trucks, we will have a large concert on Foss Hill on the same day with a big named artist!” 

With many more events on the horizon, students are looking forward to the rest of what is set to be an exciting semester.

Lyah Muktavaram can be reached at lmuktavaram@wesleyan.edu.

Jo Harkless can be reached at jharkless@wesleyan.edu.

Comments are closed