Student leaders aim for larger turnout at 2012 Week of Welcome

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A new student body executive council and a heightened awareness of all demographics represented at Dixie State College could lead to one of the more inclusive Weeks of Welcome in DSC history.

Like most years, the festivities for W.O.W. will start with Freshman Friday and continue through the entire week where it will culminate at the annual foam dance. But the tradition of catering primarily to freshman is becoming a thing of the past.

Everyone’s Invited 

Student Body President Brody Mikesell, a senior integrated studies major from Henefer, ran his campaign last year on the basis of being more inclusive toward all classes and demographics. The first official student activity promises to work toward that goal.

“The board of regents have been asking us to get a more diverse group involved on campus,” Mikesell said. “[We’re going] to look for the demographics that aren’t involved and try and broaden that demographic.”

Historically, W.O.W. has been geared toward the freshmen class for good reasons.

“The reason there’s such a big push [to involve] freshmen is it’s really important to get our freshmen involved,” Mikesell said. “But it’s also because there’s this push statewide for retention.”

He said freshmen are usually excited to be attending college, and they’re more likely to show up to events such as W.O.W. Upperclassmen, on the other hand, are a little harder to enthuse.

Mikesell said DSCSA members focus on showing freshmen a good time during the first week in order to show them DSC is worth their time. When the freshmen feel they’re part of a comfortable and fun learning environment, they’re more likely to stick around and show school spirit.

But this year’s W.O.W. activities will be a little more encompassing for returning students.

The first major change will be the Red Storm Splash. Last year, the Slip ‘n Slide and fountain splash activity was held exclusively for freshmen. However, this year the DSC Student Association has decided to include upperclassmen as well.

Mikesell said playing in the fountain is an excellent opportunity for students to get to know one another. There’s also an added bonus.

“You don’t get to wear a swimsuit and go Slip ‘n Slide at high school,” he said. “But you do in college.”

Mikesell said as the week progresses, upperclassmen should see more opportunities to get involved with the festivities. He said the DSCSA’s goal this year was to make the campus feel more like a university.

“We don’t want [upperclassmen] to feel like it’s being catered to the freshmen,” he said. “We’re hosting events on a much larger scale that are going to appeal to a much larger student body demographic.”

The DSCSA’s strategy is to find new ways to get returning students involved on campus, especially those who fall into minorities.

 “I’d like students to know that I feel as though I’m from one of those demographics that wasn’t being targeted very well,” he said. “I would like a more collegiate, more grown-up feel on campus.”

 No “Too Cools”

Mazie Ludlow, a junior communication major from Turlock, Calif., is the DSCSA vice president of public relations. She, along with the rest of the student government, has dedicated a good portion of her summer to W.O.W. When it comes down to students other than freshmen taking the time to attend, Ludlow decided it was best to quote Mikesell. 

“Brody has a saying,” she said. “There are no ‘too cools.’” 

Ludlow said W.O.W. is a great opportunity for freshmen to find friends, but it’s also a great opportunity for other classmen to enjoy free food and fun. They simply need to set aside their “I’m too cool for this” mentalities.

“I know my first year I was very intimidated to go out [to W.O.W.],” she said. “The younger students don’t have friends yet to go with, and the older students think they’re too cool to go. That’s just a complete misconception.”

In order to help dissolve the wall of intimidation or “too coolness,” Ludlow and her team have been focusing on getting the word out about W.O.W. via Twitter. The DSCSA is looking for creative uses of #TheDixieLife, #IGoToDixie and #DixieBabes.

She said the person who uses the hashtags creatively and uploads photos of his or her Dixie experience will win a $100 gift card to the DSC Bookstore.

“We’re really pushing social networking,” she said. “But we’ve found that the best way to [get the word out] is word of mouth. It makes a big difference when students know that they can communicate with us and that we want them here.” 

Ludlow said she wanted to drive home the point that no students, freshmen or otherwise, should feel like W.O.W. isn’t worth their time.

“It’s a great time for everyone,” she said. “Everyone likes to go bounce in a bounce house and eat free food. We’re in college. We’re not in the corporate world, yet. We’re still having fun.”

The W.O.W. Events

Freshmen will begin the year with the New Student Kickoff, which will be held in the Burns Arena at 10 a.m. on Friday. The day will include a welcome assembly and lunch. Students will also have a chance to network with their future instructors at noon at the the fountain.

The week officially kicks off for all classes at the Red Storm Splash, which will be held at the fountain at 7 p.m. for freshmen, and all other classmen are invited to attend at 8 p.m.

According to a press release sent by DSC Director of Public Relations Steven Johnson, DSC will also be hosting it’s first “Business to Student Expo” at the Student Activity Center.

“The expo will serve as an introduction of St. George area businesses and services to Dixie State students,” the press release states.

The expo will be open to freshman from noon to 3 p.m. on Friday, and it will be open to all upperclassmen on Aug. 20-21 from noon to 3 p.m. both days.

DSC’s Campus Recreation Department will hold an introduction on Aug. 18 at 8 a.m. where students can learn about the outdoor recreational activities available in the St. George area. The Raging Red show choir will also hold a concert afterward in the Eccles Fine Arts Center room 156 at 10 a.m.

As part of the DSCSA’s initiative to change things up from years past, a surf simulator will be available for students to ride on Aug. 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on The Encampment Mall.

“We have a whole new dynamic this year because a lot of the positions in (student) government this year are (filled by) new people,” Ludlow said. “It’s brought a whole new set of ideas to the table. Instead of taking the same things every year, we’re just trying to shake it up a bit. The surf simulator is an example [of that].”

The biggest event of W.O.W. is the carnival, which will be held Aug. 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. on The Encampment Mall. According to the press release, the carnival will feature a barbecue and live music, and it “will also feature blow-up tows, games, and a climbing wall provided by DSC’s ROTC program.”

“The carnival is something the students really enjoy and (is) something the community expects from us,” Mikesell said. “We’re trying this year to cater less to the community and more to the student body.”

Club Rush will take place Aug. 22–23 on The Diagonal—the sidewalk stretching from the McDonald building to the stairs leading to the Browning building—from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. This will be the opportunity for students to get to know the clubs offered on campus.

The festivities will continue into the evening of Aug. 22 with Mad Chad the Chainsaw Juggler. This event is free for students with ID and $5 without. It will be held in the Gardner Center Ballroom at 7:30 p.m.

“Mad Chad is coming back!” said Mikesell enthusiastically.“ That was something from my freshman year that I loved. I don’t know why they stopped doing that, but we signed him back up. He’s still one of the top performers.”

Students are encouraged to participate in the first service project of the year, which will be held at 3 p.m. on Aug. 23 at East Elementary School. The school is located at 453 S. 600 East—across the street from the Hansen Stadium. Students will be working to beautify the elementary school campus, so those interested should be dressed for physical labor. 

And the week will begin winding up with the annual foam dance, which has become bigger each year. The dance will begin at 9 p.m. on Aug. 25 at the North Instructional Building parking lot. Admission is $5 pre-sale with DSC ID, $10 at the door with student ID, or $20 without ID 

The dance is so named because, in addition to the music, the parking lot will flooded with soapy suds. Be sure to dress appropriately; students are encouraged to dress in clothes that can get wet.

Mikesell said students would be wise to get tickets and show up early.

“We’re really going to blow [the dance] out this year,” he said.“ Last year the average wait was 45 minutes to get in.”

The fifth annual President’s Welcome Back Fun Run will be held Aug. 25 at 8 a.m. at the Hansen Stadium. According to the press release, this will be a 5K course that will start and finish at the stadium and will weave around and through the DSC campus. Participants who beat President Stephen Nadauld will also receive a 25 percent discount off apparel or “novelty” purchases at the DSC Bookstore.

And finally, the week will conclude with the College Convocation, which will be held in the Cox Auditorium on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. This event is free to the public and, according to the press release, will feature an “inspirational address” from RC Willey Chairman William Child.

Find us on Facebook at Dixie Sun News, and on Twitter @DixieSunNews. Tell us about your W.O.W. experiences and share your photos with the student body.