The first step in learning about a new place is meeting the people. On Thursday morning, the university hosted its ETSU PRIDE Community Showcase and Bucky’s Back to School Bash to help students do just that.
The two events were part of ETSU’s annual Welcome Week.
“It’s a way for our student organizations to showcase themselves,” Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Maggie Darden said of the Back to School Bash, adding that there are more than 200 organizations on campus.
“I love the energy of Welcome Week,” she continued. “It’s a great way for our new students to see that other people — even returning students — are still looking for ‘that fit,’ and one of the ways our students stay happy and here is if they’re participating and involved on campus in organizations.”
Director of Alumni Programs Lee Ann Davis said the Community Showcase began as a partnership between the Johnson City/Jonesborough/Washington County Chamber of Commerce and ETSU National Alumni Association to highlight the area’s businesses, particularly to out-of-region students, faculty and staff.
The partnership was started about 20 years ago “to find a fun way to bring businesses and campus groups in one setting so our students, faculty and staff could find out more about the services that are available throughout the region — the different businesses that are here,” Davis said.
Davis said events like the Back to School Bash and Community Showcase help set the mood for the coming year.
“With ETSU PRIDE comes the beginning of the fall semester, and this is always such a great time to be on campus. You can feel the excitement of the faculty and staff,” Davis said. “We are excited to see our students back on campus, and really it’s one of the best times of the year.”
Kalli Sluder, a graduate student in the College of Public Health, said she’s excited to start the new school year. Though she’s returning to a familiar campus, she said she enjoys welcoming returning students and meeting new members of the ETSU campus community.
“I did my undergrad here, so I’m just excited to be back,” she said. “I think it’s great to meet these organizations and new friends and such.”