Feds declares Welcome Week a success, quadrupling sponsorship efforts

&quot;I think the week was a huge success. We had some unprecedented turnouts at some of our events, overall, it was a great success in all aspects,&rdquo; Prashant Kumar Patel, Feds&rsquo; interim special events co-ordinator, told <em>Imprint</em>.

After increasing this year&rsquo;s Welcome Week budget to $65,000 &mdash; a $5,000 increase from last year&rsquo;s $60,000 &mdash; Feds attracted $54,000 in sponsorship money, quadrupling their previous high of approximately $10,000-$15,000.

Earlier in the summer, Patel said they had $10,000 in sponsorship money committed on paper and another $20,000 in the works. He added that their goal was to attract somewhere in the neighbourhood of $25,500 in sponsorship investments, which they more than doubled. Sponsorship money allowed Feds to pump in a total of $114,000 into Welcome Week.

Patel explained how these companies&rsquo; first hand interactions with students are &ldquo;priceless.&rdquo;

&ldquo;[Sponsors] want to give back to the students, but they want some exposure. When they get that exposure, that&rsquo;s what will get them to come back and encourage them to keep sponsoring us,&rdquo; Patel said. &ldquo;Sobeys, one of the most excited sponsors, their general manager and district manager want to continue to sponsor not only Welcome Week, but other events throughout the year. They had such a great experience interacting with students&hellip; you can&rsquo;t put a price on that.&rdquo;

In order to attract these sponsors, Feds promised, reallocated, and focused their budget on &ldquo;go big or go home events&rdquo; that appeal to more sponsors, instead of smaller events.

Three of these &ldquo;go big or go home events&rdquo; included the Welcome Week concert, breakfast at the Student Life Centre (SLC), and the carnival. These three events all drew anywhere between 2,300 to 2,700 people.

The Welcome Week concert drew approximately 2,250 students, while the breakfast held at SLC courtyard on the first day of school served over 2,300 students.

The carnival with a price tag of $35,000 saw over 2,700 students attend the festivities.

Although Patel and Feds VP Internal Maaz Yasin were pleased with the turnout at these events, they believe the cold and wet weather may have affected attendance somewhat.

&ldquo;I think we would have been at the 3,000-4,000 mark if the weather was in our favour,&rdquo; Patel said.

&ldquo;I was really worried about the scavenger hunt&hellip; I think it was raining that day. Despite the rain, people wore garbage bags and still went down to the scavenger hunt. I think 50-60 people attended. Considering the weather was that bad I think that was good to see,&rdquo; Yasin said.

He also added he was glad the concert was moved indoors despite some negative feedback from students.

&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really glad we moved the concert indoors because it was a really cold night and who knows what kind of attendance we would have attracted,&rdquo; Yasin said.

Patel and Yasin also emphasized the success of not only these big ticket events, but also those smaller events new and old to Welcome Week. Sex Toy Bingo was once again a great success, while the newly introduced arcade hosted at SLC&rsquo;s multi-purpose room has received great preliminary feedback.

Yasin added he was encouraged by the success of the movie night and arcade that was planned specifically for those more introverted students who don&rsquo;t particularly enjoy partying or are too shy to attend an event like Sex Toy Bingo.

Patel also mentioned the positive preliminary feedback he&rsquo;s been hearing from students.

&ldquo;A lot of students were talking to me and saying they wish their first year was like this, and had fourth-year students asking me, &lsquo;Why the change this year?&rsquo;,&rdquo; Patel said. &ldquo;We should be putting on more meaningful, large-scale events like this, this is why we [Feds] exist.&rdquo;

A large-scale event like the carnival inspired a &ldquo;community feel,&rdquo; Yasin said.

He added that he had only witnessed this during Orientation Week and also touched upon some of the reasons why UW has difficulty inspiring school spirit, where he mentioned two main issues.

One unique to UW is its expansive co-op program that disconnects students from campus life for prolonged periods of time. Second was UW&rsquo;s faculty-centred mindset.

When asked whether or not he intends to come back as Feds&rsquo; Welcome Week special events coordinator next year, Patel said, &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to let the Feds decide that &hellip; I just love serving this campus and love fixing things and making things better. If Feds gives me an opportunity I&rsquo;ll be more than happy.&rdquo;


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