Students have come to expect great entertainment during their first week of class at Winthrop University.
Boyd Jones, director the DiGiorgio Student Union, and his 43 student board members say they’re there to deliver.
“The motivation is to bring something positive to the campus,” said Willie Bush, senior Winthrop student and student union board member. “Giving people something that they can say, ‘This is why I’m at Winthrop. This is what keeps me entertained. This makes me feel like I have a home away from home.’”
Welcome Week starts the first day freshmen move into their residence halls. Planning for the week starts nearly six months before move-in.
For 10 straight days, Winthrop hosts on-campus movies, a giant ice-breaker for new students and music and comedy performances.
Members of the student union board book the entertainment, promote, set up and run the events. Entertainment continues into the fall and spring semesters with the board hosting between 80 and 100 day and nighttime events throughout the year.
Senior Tevin Brown said he typically works 10 to 14 hours a week for the board. During Welcome Week, however, he spends about six hours a day planning and running events.
The effort isn’t just a hobby for Brown.
“My favorite thing about the board is it helped me find out what I want to do with my life,” he said.
He entered Winthrop as an English education major and is now a sports management student.
“I found out that student affairs is a career field,” Brown said.
After graduation he plans to attend Auburn or Syracuse University to pursue a master’s in student affairs.
Big names such as Bo Bice of “American Idol,” Golden Dragon Acrobats from China and hypnotist Tom DeLuca – a 20-year Winthrop tradition – have resulted in record-breaking Welcome Week pass sales, Jones said.
“When I first started, I was told no one would buy a pass,” said Jones, who started his 20th year at Winthrop as activities director this month.
Before DeLuca’s performance on Thursday night – which drew one of the week’s biggest crowds – Jones said the record of 1,296 passes sold would be topped by the weekend. Winthrop’s enrollment is just under 6,000 students.
Passes for the 10-day entertainment schedule cost $10 for students. Semester-long passes to on-campus movies and other board events cost $15 for students and $30 for the public.
The Golden Dragon Acrobats, an dance and acrobatic theater show, is Welcome Week 2012’s final event. The 7 p.m. Sunday acrobatic show was purposefully scheduled at an earlier evening time to allow parents in Rock Hill to bring children. Single-ticket, public admission for the event is $10 for adults, and children under 4 get in free.