By Marielle Echavez, Staff Writer—

UTC’s Winter Welcome Week invited students back for the first week of spring semester with relaxing and fun events across campus. 

From Monday, Jan. 6 to Friday, Jan.10, there were many events that welcomed students back such as Sound Waves, Presence Bar, Winter Game Night, Winter Org Fest, Basketball Tailgate, International Tea Time, Pizza Popcorn and Puppies, Screen in the UC, Donuts with Mocs Dining and “The Deal is Right” Game Show. 

Each of the events throughout the week was sponsored by various campus organizations. One of the earlier events of the week was Winter Game Night, which was hosted by the Center for Women and Gender Equity and the Multicultural Centers. 

“Winter Welcome Week is a great time for students to get involved on campus and see what UTC has to offer for them outside of their classes,” Assistant Director for the Center for Women and Gender Equity Lauren Ouwerkerk said.

Ouwerkerk worked together with the Assistant Director of the Multicultural Center in organizing everything needed for Winter Game Night. 

This event involved board games, card games as well as interactive games such as foursquare and cornhole. 

“While we helped serve popcorn we saw students joining strangers to play a game of Family Feud, which is really what this program is about, making new connections across campus,” Ouwerkerk said. 

Her favorite part of the event is seeing the opportunity for students to unwind at the beginning of the semester, she said.

Coordinator for Veteran Student Services Linda Hinkle helped organize the Pizza Popcorn and Puppies event that was held in the University Game Room.

This event involved many games such as pool and ping pong, as well as popcorn, pizza and free swag. 

In the busyness of the first week back, multiple therapy dogs were located around the game room area to relieve some of the students’ stress.

“The purpose is to bring everybody together… Meeting new people is kind of the name of the game. Having that support system is important,” Hinkle said. 

As an army veteran herself, Hinkle wants to be sure that students also learn about some of the resources offered by Veteran Student Services. 

Her favorite part is seeing how people react to the therapy dogs as they come to the event because there are so many joyful faces, she said. 

Zoe Martin, a sophomore studying photography and media arts, participated in many events throughout the week. 

One of Martin’s favorite parts of Winter Welcome Week was interacting with all the therapy dogs, she said. 

Martin noted that it surprised her to hear others talk about how they don’t know that so many of these types of events even exist on campus. 

“It is important to not always be crammed into your classes or your dorm… but to potentially get involved with other things that you’d be interested in, like dogs,” Martin said. “It is just a really fun experience overall, and it’s very important that we keep this kind of thing up and support it more.”

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