September 19, 2010
After Sunday’s Bruin Bash concert and dance, UCLA Welcome Week continues with events that include the Enormous Activities Fair, New Student Barbecue and Sports Jamboree.
One of the lineup’s unique contributions is the second annual Volunteer Day – the largest student volunteer day in the nation, said Antoinette Mongelli, executive director of the newly established UCLA Volunteer Center. The 5,000 participants will perform tasks such as mentoring high school students or restoring beach trails in the greater L.A. area.
Mongelli said broader student involvement will be central to this year’s event, and service will be expanded to 22 sites, compared to last year’s eight.
“We wanted to pick sites that students could go back to on their own,” Mongelli said of choosing Volunteer Day’s venues, which include last year’s locations of Gompers Middle School along with new additions such as Griffith Park.
According to the UCLA Office of Analysis and Information Management, Bruins collectively spend about 2 million hours a year volunteering. Volunteer Day aims to direct the student body to in-need areas of Los Angeles that are not obvious from the campus’ sheltered Westwood vantage point, Mongelli said.
On Tuesday, students will be directed to one of several on-campus bus-loading zones depending on their residence hall floor.
Because of the scale of the event and budget restrictions, only freshmen are permitted to volunteer, Mongelli said.
An exception to this rule exists for Bruin transfer students, who will receive an extra-warm welcome this fall, according to Undergraduate Students Association Council President Jasmine Hill.
“With the addition of specialized transfer communities on the Hill and USAC’s agenda containing a lot of advocacy on behalf of transfers, I think the transfer student of this year will have a much more welcoming and inclusive UCLA experience than maybe of those in years past,” Hill said.
Events such as Thursday’s Transfer Student Open House and the Bruin Resource Center’s “Zeitoun” reading discussion have been tailored to older incoming students, giving them a place to venture during the typically first-year-oriented Welcome Week.
The events geared to first-years include the Sports Jamboree, in which intramural and club sport booths are posted on the Intramural Field on Wednesday.
That evening, residential hall students will have an opportunity to discuss “Zeitoun,” the official UCLA Common Book distributed to all new students in their halls.
Friday’s BruinFest, formerly dubbed ResFest, at the Wooden Center caps the week off with a night of carnival games and free recreation classes. Students hungry for more mingling can attend UCLA Day at the Los Angeles County Fair on Saturday, where Bruins are granted free admission with a printout coupon.
For first-years daunted by the onslaught of spirited happenings, Hill said the Enormous Activities fair is a Welcome Week must and an ideal place to start one’s transition to UCLA.
“The activities fair … gives students such a great connection to the campus and a feel for what Bruin life is all about,” Hill said of Monday’s Royce Quad happening, which will feature more than 300 informative booths centered on campus opportunities, from art groups and dance clubs to Greek life.
Even with the activities fair’s move from the Intramural Field to Royce Quad because of Pauley Pavilion construction, Hill said she expects no difference in the turnout or success of the fair or other relocated Welcome Week staples such as the New Student Welcome ceremony.
The cornerstone of Monday’s ceremony consists of a message from motivational speaker Scott Greenberg. The event will take place in Drake Stadium instead of the traditional Pauley, a location Hill finds endearing because students will end their UCLA journey with a graduation ceremony on the same field.
Such is also the case with Sunday night’s Bruin Bash concert and dance, whose Drake Stadium locale holds 11,000 Bruins.
Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kinnery Shah said it was a struggle to plan around Pauley’s current construction, which forced Bruin Bash’s lounge and dance area into the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
“(The event) worked out though,” Shah said. “Bruin Bash is important in terms of getting people excited for the year and helping them remember why we came to UCLA. It’s because of the students, because of the people.”