Jennifer and Michael Olalde enjoy time before class at Springfest, one of many Week of Welcome events to mark the start of the semester.

USF Sarasota-Manatee kicks off ‘Week of Welcome’ as spring semester begins

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: January 07, 2019

New and returning students will find a host of fun, engaging activities this week at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

Week of Welcome, a twice-yearly celebration to mark the start of the semester, kicked off Monday with a festival in the campus courtyard. The three-hour event, known as Springfest, included soft pretzels, tie-dye T-shirts, airbrush tattooing, card tricks and a photo booth.

Student Senate President Megan Griffiths helped make tie-dye T-shirts, enjoying the interaction with fellow students. The senior business major is set to graduate in May and said she’s savoring the remainder of her college days.

“It’s nice to get back to campus,” she said. “I always love these events, just having fun and being silly, having fun in the photo booth.”

Jennifer Olalde, a junior, agreed.

“Whenever they have something like this, I like to come early to campus,” the I.T. student said.

School spirit runs deep in the Olalde family. Her father, Jose, graduated from USFSM with a criminology degree and her brother, Michael, is a freshman, majoring in business.

“I like the small campus feel,” she said. “It’s not super crowded and I like that the class sizes are smaller.”

Also Monday, students enjoyed free sundaes while stocking up on notebooks, highlighters and other items. Other Week of Welcome events include a Tampa Bay Lightning game on Tuesday; an escape room on Thursday; and a dinner and movie, Robin Hood, on Friday.

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