By Ben Holzhueter
With the passing of Labor Day weekend comes the inevitability every public school student in Wisconsin knows so well: the start of the fall semester.
Members of the incoming freshmen class can find advice on how to add a little more culture and fun to begin their college careers from any number of UW-Whitewater students, teachers and employees, including Young Auditorium Marketing Specialist Leslie LaMuro.
“That first year, use that as an experimental year; try out new things,” LaMuro said. “Go see a show you’ve never seen before. Go to the art galleries and the theaters. See what’s out there, because you’re really going to expand your horizons and open your mind to things you may not have seen before.”
Young Auditorium offers a number of free performances and shows every semester including the World Music Festival on Sept. 18.
The facilities UW-Whitewater provides for its arts programs are top notch, and LaMuro said she wanted to stress just how much of an edge the school has with its resources compared to other schools.
“Our entertainment options are incredible here,” LaMuro said. “Students don’t realize that many universities don’t have a professional venue like Young Auditorium.”
Another option incoming freshmen, as well as all students, have is to attend shows and events provided by the Student Entertainment Awareness League.
SEAL brings a wide variety of acts to UW-Whitewater, including bands, comedians and even magicians.
They also are collaborating with other departments, including First Year Experience, University Health & Counseling Services and several more to host this year’s Week of Welcome.
SEAL manager Sara Molnar stressed how important the events in the WOW are for UW-Whitewater freshmen.
“I think it’s great for students, especially freshmen that may not have transportation,” Molnar said. “They may get here and not really know what to do, but there are a bunch of events they can become involved in when they’re just starting out, and it’s a great way for them to meet other people also.”
One of the key events, Molnar said, is Better Bites: A Food Frenzy at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 in UC 275. It is geared toward freshmen and looks to help them make smart and healthy food choices.
Molnar said it’s important for freshmen to get those healthy food habits early on.
Another habit that’s beneficial to form early on in one’s college career is attending theater, dance and music programs, LaMuro said.
Freshmen in World of the Arts classes or English 101, 102 and 105 are required to attend some of them, and LaMuro said that is a good start, but more could be done in terms of how those requirements are presented.
“I think if we give them more information about the show or the actors or there’s a link to go learn some more about it on your own it would help,” LaMuro said. “Students taking ownership of part of the learning process helps to make things less odious to them.”
LaMuro said the whole “You have to go” thing gets in the way, and when that happens, many students might just show up without really caring about the performance. Texting during the show or leaving at intermission are two examples of the way students might show their disinterest.
“I really think sometimes when people think they found something and say, ‘This is really cool. Look what I just found,’ it’s almost neater than having it forced on to you,” LaMuro said.
Even with the minor changes LaMuro suggests, she still said it’s a great thing that those passes are handed out for free in the aforementioned classes.
“What I really think it does, is it exposes them to things that they might not do otherwise,” LaMuro said. “You might actually find that you like it.”
Whichever events or activities students decide to get involved with, the best thing is for students to get involved right away as freshmen, Molnar said.
“They can meet people, especially if they’re interested in comedy, they can meet other students who are interested in comedy too,” Molnar said. “So I think not only does it provide entertainment, but it also fosters friendships too for those students who may not have completely found where their friendship groups on campus are yet.”