A Behind the Scenes of Weekend of Welcome
By: Annika Henthorn
Who could forget about SMC’s notorious first-year greeting? After a year in hibernation, Weekend of Welcome finally returned for its first in-person appearance August 27-29. Greeted by energetic whoops and hollers of WOWies prepping to unload endless lines of cars, the class of 2025 was welcomed back onto campus with open arms and loads of enthusiasm. Such a large undertaking requires a sizable team, and for Weekend of Welcome, that team was made up of WOWies. Not only are they considered the school’s welcoming committee, but are also part-time Uhaul movers for first years, and intensive laborers, working around the clock to prepare for Saint Mary’s return to campus. Weekend festivities included painting the SMC, a carnival, the soiree, and so much more for first years to partake in.
Following such a tough year for so many, WOWies wanted to ensure that first year students were acclimated to campus and the social scene before beginning school. To the naked eye, Weekend of Welcome may seem like a culmination of typical college events and games, but beneath the surface lies the sweat and tears of coordinators, WOWies, and others who worked tirelessly to prepare for such a long-awaited week. Victoria Jacobo, a Weekend of Welcome coordinator, has revealed that they began “prepping for WOW the last week of June once the bulk of Orientation ended.” These large events that may seem simple to plan have actually taken months to prepare for. Although coordinators began planning in June, WOWies arrived two weeks before to train for the incoming chaos. Shortly after, they were split into teams, each focusing on an event and its needed arrangements. Whether that was hand-painting posters or setting up the Farewell Barbeque, WOWies seemed to have their hands full leading up to the start of the semester.
One of the biggest challenges faced in this process was “communicating with different departments to see how they can be involved and what they need from us,” according to Jacobo. This required all different departments of the school to collaborate in order to create such a seamless experience for incoming first year students. Despite the laborious work involved in orchestrating such a large production, both WOWies and coordinators can agree that seeing everything come to fruition made it entirely worth it.
Topher Costa, a first year student that attended Weekend of Welcome, has said that “it was really fun just to get to know everyone and be forced into it; it just made it a lot easier to meet friends.” With so much change and uncertainty spiralling around first year students, Weekend of Welcome helped alleviate some of that fear and allow them to meet friends before school began.
Skylar Matas, another first year student, agreed, saying that “whether it was in line or during planned activities” she was able to develop friendships over the course of the weekend. However, Megan Louis has said that with such a packed weekend, “it was hard to settle in because there wasn’t a ton of spare time.” Although this is intentional to shield students from feeling lonely, it can also be overwhelming for those that want time to settle in. College is not an easy transition, and Weekend of Welcome is there to help navigate first years through it.
Ryan Ford '23,