By Mary Van Jura
Youngstown State University’s Welcome Week makes coming back to school a little sweeter.
Wednesday marks the first day of classes, and The Office of Student Activities has a plethora of events planned with their theme of “Penguin Paradise.”
Welcome Week begins this year with Ignite, an orientation for first-time Penguins, taking place Monday and Tuesday. The first day of classes kicks off with the Kilcawley Block Party from 11:30-1:30, where students can enter for the chance to win a Go-Pro Camera.
Leslie Page, the assistant director of Orientation Services, is in charge of Ignite and is helping train peer mentors for the orientation program. This year, there are 88 peer mentors to lead student teams during orientation.
Tuesday during Ignite, incoming students will get to interact with their specific college to find out what is in store for them, inside and outside of the classroom.
Page elaborated on some of the sessions happening during Ignite, stating some are self-explanatory, like Team Meetings, where incoming students get to know more about each other and YSU, and March of the Penguins — a tour of the different academic buildings on campus.
Some of the unconventional sessions include a performance by “No Zebras, No Excuses.” “No Zebras” showcased the importance of dating responsibility and the harm of gender based violence and sexual assault.
Carolyn Jesko, a Student Activities graduate assistant, has been planning Welcome Week since the beginning of summer.
“We collaborated with Housing and Residence Life to plan some of the new events — Putt Putt Golf, Xtreme Trampoline and Temporary Tattoos — and brought back some favorites — Build-A-Penguin, Rock Capitol Live Band Karaoke and Caricature Artists,” Jesko said.
The Xtreme Trampoline, located between Kilcawley House and Sweeney Hall, can send someone 30 feet into the air, and the karaoke band offers over 200 song options.
The Build-A-Penguin activity on Friday gives 400 students the chance to stuff their own penguin plush doll.
“YSU CityScape will be giving a walking tour of downtown Youngstown so students can learn more about the history of our city and see the plans for the future,” Jesko said.
The walking tour of downtown takes place on Thursday.
Businesses downtown, such as Joe Maxx, Avalon Downtown, One Hot Cookie, The Federal (formerly Martini Brothers Burger Bar) and O’Donold’s will offer discounts when you present your student ID. Rising pop star Zella Day will end the evening with a performance at Suzie’s Dogs & Drafts.
Jesko said that the day is meant to highlight local businesses and the recent development of downtown.
The Student Government Association will be handing out coffee to students and running a taco bar. Students even have a chance to win a free textbook, all outside of the Maag Library.
Seventy student organizations will be posted in the center of campus, or in the Chestnut Room inside of Kilcawley Center if it rains. There will also be help stations located outside of Kilcawley for any lost students.
“Penguin Paradise” lasts until Sept. 1.