University Holds Wildcat Welcome Week

Trucks like Pizzeria Pronto park around the Riley Ellipse for Food Truck Friday on Friday, Aug. 27.

On the first weekend of the school year following orientation, the University’s Office of Student Involvement (OSI) and the Campus Activities Team (CAT) offered a plethora of activities as part of Wildcat Welcome Week.

The first Nova Quizzo, the University’s beloved weekly trivia competition, took place on Thursday, Aug. 26. The theme was Summer 2021 in Review. The three categories were about major events, the Olympics and songs of the summer. With a final score of 35 out of 40, the winning team was “The A Team,” and it was the group’s first time at Quizzo. 

On Friday, Aug. 27, the Student Involvement Fair was held at Mendel Field from 5:30-8 p.m. It was originally slated to take place from 4-7 p.m. but was delayed due to expected rain. More than 240 student organizations set up posters to recruit new members.

Later on, Movie Night was held at the Connelly Center Cinema. Last year, movie nights were usually held outside at the Riley Ellipse, but this year’s loosening of restrictions means that University-sponsored indoor events are back once again. At 8 p.m., CAT played the Pixar film “Luca,” followed by “A Quiet Place Part II” at 10 p.m.

NOVAdance held a Silent Disco event in the Villanova Room in the Connelly Center. NOVAdance is a year-long annual fundraising effort culminating in a 12-hour dance marathon during the Spring 2022 semester. NOVAdance raises money for the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, which provides financial and emotional support to families of children with cancer nationwide and funds childhood cancer research.

However, the most packed event of all was the one and only Food Truck Friday. Many returning students weren’t even sure there were still going to be Food Truck Fridays anymore, since many believe the food truck phenomenon was started by Community First as a way to keep students on campus on Friday nights, back when the pandemic was a larger concern. 

In reality, the idea for Food Truck Friday dates back to Fall 2019 when Christine Quisenberry, the Director of Presidential Initiatives and Events, helped coordinate the addition of food trucks behind the Finneran Pavilion. A year later, in Fall 2020, Quisenberry worked with Community First to make the presence of food trucks a regular occurrence. 

Nevertheless, a horde of students, many of them freshmen, gathered around the Riley Ellipse and the Campus Green on Friday for free pizza, tacos, burgers and more.

“I wasn’t sure that Food Truck Fridays would be returning,” junior Matthew Gaetano said. “Considering that they were one of the highlights of campus last year, I’m really glad that they’re back.”

On Saturday, Aug. 28, the Riley Ellipse was scattered not with food trucks, but something totally new to campus: escape rooms. Students had the opportunity to test their knowledge at four escape room tents with four unique themes: Area 51, Financial Bank, Castle of Horrors and Escape the 70s. Each escape room experience fit eight students and lasted 15 minutes, making for long lines outside the tents. Still, students found the experience to be worth it.

“The escape rooms were a lot of fun,” sophomore Joe Adams said. “Since I could try out a bunch of different rooms, I had a blast, and along the way I was able to meet a lot of new people which was awesome.”

Meanwhile, at the Belle Aire Terrace in the Connelly Center from 8-10 p.m., CAT presented live music played by local musicians.

To finish off Wildcat Welcome Week, on Sunday, Aug. 29 at 5 p.m., University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D. presided over a special Welcome Back Mass outdoors on the Rowen Campus Green. This Mass was followed by a celebration with more food trucks and a live jazz band on Mendel Field.

The week was undoubtedly a success. Freshmen now know that on campus, activity-filled weekends don’t taper off after Orientation - they last all year. And for everyone else, Wildcat Welcome Week has been a long-awaited return to the maskless Villanova that we know and love.