By Zoe Watkins —
Campus has been mostly empty since students left back in March. However, last week was full of events tailored for freshmen to adjust to their new campus life. Welcome Week is the first taste that incoming freshmen get when they first arrive on campus, spanning across the week before classes. This year Welcome Week was from Aug. 12 through Aug. 16.
Due to COVID-19, a lot has changed including new protocols and rules to help keep students and faculty safe and healthy. Despite this, there were still many socially distant Welcome Week events going on, including a regular event hosted by the Student Activities Board.
Julie Nwosu, vice-chair of the campus life committee, said this year’s event “Cardinal World,” is an adapted take on their “Cardnival.”
“Every year, SAB hosts a Welcome Week event,” Nwosu said. “Every year it is kind of a different theme, so we went with a theme that would stand out more,” Nwosu explained.
The event took inspiration from “AstroWorld” by Travis Scott. “Cardinal World” featured an indoor roller-skating rink where students could skate and listen to music. Dinner was provided in the Red Barn as well.
Leanne-Sarah Dnamba, who serves as the campus life committee’s chair, said that having a roller rink indoors was like a carnival theme to them. The committee wanted it to have similar visuals to AstroWorld, think glow-in-the-dark, universe imagery and good music.
“Obviously, with the new COVID regulation it was a little bit hard for us to find activities to have for returning and incoming freshmen. So, we thought of a skating rink,” said Dnamba.
SAB had other events scheduled for Welcome Week, but due to the new regulations, most were canceled due to concerns of being able to follow proper social distance guidelines. In total, there were three other events planned besides the roller rink, which Nwosu said were trap-karaoke, Zumba and a silent disco.
Despite all the cancellations, the roller rink was decided to be the best course of action since there was a way to keep practicing social distancing while people could still have fun at the event.
Dnamba explained that cones were set out throughout the SAC to keep a six-foot distance between students who were waiting in line. A max limit of 50 people were allowed into the ballroom where the skating rink was, and anyone who attended the event was required to wear a mask. There was also someone regularly sanitizing tables once students left.
SAB also used different colored wristbands to schedule times when students could come.
“It would give us enough time to clean all the roller skates and clean the place they’re going to be roller skating so we could follow all of the guidelines of the university that they gave us,” Nowsu said.
Even with all the new regulations and social distancing, many students still showed up to skate and have fun.
Freshman Ellie Bruner came out to the event with some friends to enjoy the night. Despite not being able to participate in many of the events planned for Welcome Week, she said that the roller-skating rink was her favorite so far. “I’m not very good at it and I haven’t skated in a couple years probably, but I think its fun,” Bruner said.
If a student missed this event, there are still some coming down the road this fall semester; however, it remains to be seen on what they are. Nowsu said that the board has decided to host all future events virtually for the time being.
“Right now, we’re just taking our time. We are seeing how this event goes and how everything is going to go and move forward with the fall semester. We have a few things planned, but we’re going to keep that to ourselves for now until we see how things go.” Dnamba said.
Photo By Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal