Valley’s Welcome Day expected more attendance

ASU Student Life promotes heart health while welcoming an empty campus.

By Natalie Metcalf, Staff Writer

The turnout expected at the Welcome Day goodie booth was about 200 students. One hour into the two hour event, 50 students were counted in attendance. (Ava Rosate/The Valley Star)

A mere 50 students roamed a desolate Monarch Square and Student Services Plaza on Wednesday amid a heat advisory and Santa Ana winds.

ASU Student Life expected 200 students for the new semester’s Welcome Day, but only a quarter of those students attended, heading to class or leaving campus for the day. In past years, Welcome Day has seen busier times with more energy, booths, students and faculty.

“Usually on Welcome Days we go for larger amounts, at least 500 students participating,” said Student Engagement Coordinator Raquel Sanchez.

(L-R) Dean of Student Life Dr. Elizabeth Negrete welcomes student Aaliyah Ortega back for the spring semester with a tote bag at the ASU Welcome Day. (Luis Flores/ The Valley Star)

Students and administrators were also celebrating American Heart Month– which takes place in the month of February. This week Valley is celebrating heart disease awareness month by handing out Valley swag bags. The bags distributed by Student Life contained ASU flyers and pamphlets, as well as a beer cozy, a bottle opener, a bag of popcorn and a bag of cookies.

“We are promoting ‘Valley Wears Red,’” said Student Health Education Coordinator Evelyn Pichado. “We want students to participate by going into Instagram, wearing something red, taking a picture and using the hashtag #lavcwearsred.”

The hashtag was only used twice on Instagram, with both posts coming from the Valley Student Life account.

“We split up [the goodie bags],” said Sanchez. “We have 100 [in Monarch Square] and 100 in Student Services so we can get to locations [and] capture more students.”

The swag bags were distributed in return for students' signatures in support of ‘Valley Wears Red.’

“As a department, we are required to submit a Program Review at the end of the academic year,” said Sanchez in regards to students signing their name. “The signatures are a way for Student Life to show proof that our activities are attended.”

Signatures are also recommended during campus events, as keeping track of attendance determines future activities at Valley. The lack of student life during Welcome Day is largely due to low in-person enrollment.

“There is about 60 percent [of students] online and 40 percent in person,” said President Barry Gribbons.

With growing concerns about the pandemic and the rise of omicron, an abundance of students being on campus is not possible.

“The number of students who participate influences our future planning,” Sanchez said.