Fests and parties to begin school year

By Suzanne Tomse

Incoming NIU students can start their college careers with barbecues, beach parties and festivals when the 9th annual Student Welcome Days begin Aug. 27.

Among a wide variety of activities, about 300 NI guides will be on hand to assist students with move-in Aug. 26.

“NI guides add a personal touch. They show students around and help them make friends,” said Sharon Ainger, Welcome Days coordinator.

Ainger said guides send personal welcome letters to students during the summer. When Welcome Days begin, the guides organize student groups for campus tours and other events in addition to answering any questions students might have about NIU.

“They help students build a sense of home within their residence hall,” Ainger said. About 75 percent of the students arrive on campus the first day of move-in, she said.

Welcome Days officially will begin with a barbecue and gamesfest at the West Lagoon Aug. 27, Ainger said. Music will be provided by WKDI, the student radio station, and food will be served by some NIU administrators. Tickets for the event can be purchased during summer orientation for $3 or at the door for $4, Ainger said.

Ainger said Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity will hold its annual bonfire later that evening, while NIU residence halls will offer their own activities to students. Hall activities will continue throughout Welcome Days, which end Aug. 30, she said. Classes begin the following day.

On Aug. 28, students can talk with about 70 student organizations at Friday Fest in Martin Luther King Mall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m, Ainger said. Other planned activities include craft, poster, plant and bake sales as well as a non-alcoholic bar. WKDI semi-remote broadcasting, restaurant booths and spontaneous performances are planned to round out the day’s activities, she said.

From 8 p.m. to 12 a.m that same day, a video dance will be held at Chick Evans Field House, but it might be expanded into a street dance, Ainger said. Also, the Campus Activities Board will show movies in Carl Sandburg Auditorium Friday through Sunday.

DeKalb’s annual CornFest, Aug. 29, will offer music, carnival booths, art fairs and free sweet corn. Later that night, comedian Tom DeLucca will perform at Carl Sandburg Auditorium.

A beach party will cap off Welcome Days events Sunday at the East Lagoon. Canoe rides, bands, ice cream and possibly real sand will be available for everyone’s enjoyment, Ainger said.

“We encourage new and returning students to get involved with activities. It’s an excellent way to kick off the school year,” she said.

Ainger said NIU’s Welcome Days program has won two national awards. In August 1986, it won Program of the Month from the National Association for Colleges and University Residence Halls. In addition, the program received recognition from the Great Lakes Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls.

“The program is not just a week of fun and games. It compliments NIU’s orientation program by getting students acquainted with their new home,” Ainger said.