Students, faculty, and staff celebrated the start of new school year in a new location for the annual President’s Picnic Thursday evening.

Previously, the student organizations and vendors sent up their booths throughout the Sid Richardson Center; however, the event was moved to the recently opened Nick and Lou Martin University Center.

Dora’s set up their free food in the Kay Granger Mall in front of the building and dining tables spanned around the first floor of the center. The organization tables were smashed together on the second floor in the Paul and Judy Andrews Hall ballroom.

Sophomore English and mass communication major Angela Castillo came out to event to support her sorority, Lambda Theta Alpha, have fun looking at the other organizations’ tables, and enjoy the free food.

Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority members Angela Castillo, Elizabeth Gomez, and Devyn Teague (left to right) pose in front of their booth as they work to recruit new sisters at the President’s Picnic.
Photo by Hannah Onder

“My favorite part of the event has been all the music and the fact that I helped out other organizations and I get to see how they flourish. I like the nice little giveaways and stuff, too,” Castillo said.

One thing Castillo said she would like to see improved from the event is spacing between the organization and vendor tables.

“It’s a little more cramped here, but it’s OK,” Castillo said. “I feel like it could be helped by us (the organizations and vendors) spreading out all over the building instead of just being contained to the ballroom.”

Junior criminal justice major and transfer student Rebecca Lara agrees with Castillo about the ballroom being too cramped for all the tables.

“It’s kind of packed and it’s a little crowded and hot,” Lara said.

Alpha Xi Delta member Gabie Maxey talks to Rebecca Lara about become a member of her sorority at the President’s Picnic in the Martin University Center ballroom.
Photo by Hannah Onder

Lara came to event to get out of her dorm room and find a sorority to join.

“(Alpha Xi Delta) caught my eye because their shirts are really cute, and I’ve been looking into it since orientation,” Lara said.

Lara said her favorite part was the free stuff being given out.

Freshman music major Jesse Haddox was also a fan of the free stuff and a first-time attendee to the picnic.

“I wanted to see what it was all about,” Haddox said, “and I wanted to see what kind of clubs were offered.”

Freshman Jesse Haddox poses with Elizabeth “Elspeth” Harris at the esports table at Thursday evening’s President’s Picnic.
Photo by Hannah Onder

Haddox ended up signing up for the esports club.

“I’m not really into competitive sports, but they’re having a branch of casual gamers that play tabletops, so I was interested in that and applied,” he said.

Haddox thought the university center was great location for the event.

Wesleyan hosted another welcome back event at the Martin University Center on Wednesday night called the Welcome Back Bash.

The first-time event was hosted by Student Life with the assistance of Greek Life, the Student Government Association, Spiritual Life, and the Programming and Activities Council. The bash consisted of a live band, a dunk tank, a bean bag toss, a rock wall, temporary tattoos, Steel City Pops popsicles, and a zipline.

Freshmen Angelica Livingston, criminal justice major Gabriel Sanchez, Brandon Hughes, and theatre major Elena Cruce came to the event looking to have fun and meet new people.

“I choose to come to this event because I wanted to learn more about the school, make more friends, and just have a fun experience starting out college,” Cruce said.

All four said their favorite parts of the event were the tattoos, dunk tank, and zipline activities. They all said they had fun at the event though one thing they wished was done better was the advertisement of the bash.

“I think they should keep doing it, and they should tell more people about it,” Livingston said. “Yesterday I was trying to find out when it was and nobody knew about it.”

They all agreed the university should do the event again next year.

“I think this is a great way to open up the beginning of college,” Cruce said, “especially for the freshmen just to see everything and get to know the school more.”

Students climb the rock wall at the Welcome Back Bash on Wednesday evening.
Photo by Hannah Onder

Students try to dunk a Zeta at the dunk tank run by Greek Life in the Kay Granger Mall in front of the Martin University Center on Wednesday.
Photo by Hannah Onder

Students fly down a zipline set up behind the Armstrong-Mabee Business Center for the Welcome Back Bash event on Wednesday.
Photo by Hannah Onder