Welcome Week event draws large crowd
Russell House became a hub for first-year students to mingle, munch on churros, claim free swag and enjoy live entertainment during the second annual Bustle at the Russell event Monday night.
The open house event began at 9 p.m. and lasted past midnight as droves of students wandered from floor to floor of the Russell House, which was packed with activities, including a dance party, a showing of the film “Role Models” in the second-floor ballroom, team trivia, video games and airbrush tattoos.
Russell House coordinators also hired guest artists to keep students entertained throughout the evening, including stand-up comedian Richie Holiday, who reeled in laughs and gasps with his slightly raunchy use of a spelling tablet during intermittent acts. Juggler Michael Dubois from New York City drew rings of spectators with samples of his “solo circus” act. Jocelyn Larson, owner of Party Train Entertainment, returned for her second year of printing custom T-shirts, key chains and road signs, which were free to students willing to linger in the unending lines.
“Of all the events we do, this is probably one of the largest,” Larson said as she busied herself at her screen press machine with what looked like her 50th T-shirt. She then motioned toward the line of more than 100 students that had snaked around the table. “Some of these people will wait in line for two hours to get a shirt.”
Despite the considerable crowds, first-year biology student Khadeajah Gleaton was able to relax and enjoy the scene in the company of some new acquaintances at a trivia table. Despite her initial skepticism of the whole Welcome Week concept, she was glad to be able to find common ground with her fellow freshmen.
“I didn’t think this would be fun because it’s very crowded and I was a nervous about meeting new people, but it’s really not as bad as I thought,” Gleaton said. She jokingly added, “I’ve learned other people are as cool as I am.”
While Bustle at the Russell aims to create a social atmosphere, the event also served as a subtle promotion of involvement through Student Life. While playing cornhole, students were able to learn about student ticketing for athletic events. They could chat with Student Government officers and advisers about Freshman Council and other leadership positions while waiting for their photo key chains in the Student Life office. Carolina Productions volunteers handed out semester calendars of events to students lined up to decorate fish tanks.
“As an upperclassman, it’s great to see how excited they are making new friends and talking about their dorms and their floors and freshman stuff,” said Casey Crum, third-year sport and entertainment management student and CP member. “They know they’ve got the best four years of their lives ahead of them.”