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Week of unWelcome

CSULB’s Week of Welcome had so much to offer to many students, but is it really welcoming to all?

Clubs and organizations gathered in the central quad for Week of Welcome Wednesday.

Bobby Yagake

Clubs and organizations gathered in the central quad for Week of Welcome Wednesday.

Isabel Ramos, Staff Writer

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Week of Welcome was its usual chaotic self Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Clubs, organizations and campus resources wasted no time in setting up booths to recruit and inform students on all the campus has to offer. There were many unique and surprising clubs and opportunities to find throughout the event – breakdancers, video game designers, businesses, religious clubs, sports clubs, cultural clubs, Greek life, even a yo-yo and kendama club and so much more.

Week of Welcome has so much to offer, but is it really welcoming to all students?

I remember my first encounter with Week of Welcome during my freshman year. My first thought was, “I cannot go in there.” The maze of booths and huge crowds of people was daunting. Especially for more introverted students, Week of Welcome can be seen as more of a challenge to either overcome or avoid, rather than a welcoming party.

“I think walking through the aisles by yourself, you feel very intimidated,” said Lily Phelps, a senior political science major. “Everyone is staring at you and judging you.”

Week of Welcome could add some structure to make it seem less hectic at first glance. People generally do not want to participate in things that they perceive as overwhelming. Looking at Week of Welcome could be dizzying due to the crowds of people and the overabundance of booths. I know that it can become more accessible to everyone so no one misses out just because they might be too intimidated to participate.

In any case, the more students Week of Welcome can attract, the more involved and active students will be on campus. When students are informed of the opportunities available to them they can take away much more from their college experience than just a degree. Some of the benefits include: learning about health services, career fairs and fun clubs students join  to take a break from school and work. It can be a great experience, but I think there are ways to make it more accessible for shy or socially anxious students. For instance, to help with the flow and approachability of the event, putting signs around or maps located at the entrances to pick up before going in would make it easier to navigate through.

I had a hard time finding my way around and knowing which booths were where. On the second day I encountered someone passing out maps, but not on the first day at all. I also noticed some booths were in different places the second day, which certainly didn’t make things any easier.

Another suggestion is lowering the music at some booths because the loud music makes it hard to talk to and get to know clubs and organizations. It’s good to have music, but not so loud that everyone is yelling just to hear each other.

In contrast, many students do indeed feel welcome and even seek it out on their own.

The loud music was not even enough to deter event-goers from talking to different booths. Timothy Nguyen, a freshman biomedical engineering major said, “[Music] adds to the atmosphere of having a lot of fun times.” Students continuously milled in and out of the rows of booths with seemingly no hesitation. Some even engaged with club and org members rather than have booth workers approach them. This is an amazing feat to me as an introvert, which is why I believe Week of Welcome is more geared to the outgoing, extroverted students.

Despite Week of Welcome being overwhelming to me, I am not against it. I definitely think it is an important event Cal State University Long Beach has which allows students to become involved on campus so they can get the most out of their time here. For being a commuter school, our campus is very lively. This is one of the great things about this campus — and Week of Welcome adds to that. There is always room for improvement.

Making Week of Welcome more structured could make it less intimidating and more welcoming to all students.

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