UP has so many fun activities and functions to attend and involve yourself in. Not only will they keep you busy, but they will always give you something to look forward to as well. Below are just a few of Mackenzie’s, one of our student office assistants, highlights of her favorite things that went on around campus last year.
1. Club Fair
The club fair takes place on the first Friday of the semester. You will definitely not want to miss this! It takes place in Beauchamp, where every club on campus has an info table set up. Even if you are just interested but not sure if you want to commit to becoming a member of the club, you can write down your email at the info tables if you just want some more information. There were clubs that I did not even know existed that we have at UP! Also, if you are interested in trying out for a club sport, all of the information for these are at the club fair, too. Bring a friend and attend! At least last year, they had an italian soda table set up as well as an assortment of free candy, stickers, and clothing at almost every table.
Riverboat is also held on the first Friday of the semester in the evening. This was probably one of my favorite activities put on by UP last year. Riverboat is a festival held on Franz River Campus which is about a 10 minute walk from the academic quad. The super cool part was that it starts after the home soccer game that takes place the same night, so the Villa Drum Squad leads everyone down to the festival. It was a neat way that the UP community came together and celebrated the beginning of the semester together.
I am confident when I say that everyone will be able to find something they enjoy at Riverboat! I spent most of my time dancing the night away with my friends on the dance floor with the DJ, but there is so much more to do than just dancing! Fair rides, henna tattoos, food trucks, and a photo booth are the other activities at last year’s Riverboat Festival. I would assume that these are pretty consistent every year. The first week back after a break can be an adjustment for everyone, not just freshmen, so this is a great way to take a break from your studies and get together with your friends to celebrate a new school year. Another perk of Riverboat – it’s FREE!
3. Hall Retreat
If you are living in the dorms this coming year, I 100% recommend signing up and attending your hall retreat. I think the only fee was for retreat shirts, which was only $15, and the hall staff are more than happy to accommodate you if you cannot pay this fee. Almost the entire retreat was reflective activities, as well as getting to know those who live in your dorm. Having no religious affiliation or background is not an excuse to not attend! I do identify as Roman Catholic, but my roommate, Livia, has no religious affiliation and still had a fantastic experience.
The retreat is two nights, but you’ll leave Friday evening and return Sunday morning, so don’t worry too much about not having homework time. It was honestly a great way to get away from the stresses of school. I remember I had my first two college exams that week in chemistry and statistics, so the retreat was a great way to end an overwhelming week. As a bonus, the retreat was held at such a beautiful location — it had a stunning view (as you can see in the pictures below).
Obviously every dorm’s retreat is going to vary in structure and they will probably change a little bit from year to year, but I’d love to give a brief overview of what I remember from my experience. We arrived on Friday evening and had dinner, and then heard a talk lead by a student ambassador in our dorm, with a small group session to follow. We then spent the rest of the evening hanging out with each other in the common area and just listening to music. On Saturday, we woke up early and went on a sunrise walk which was super beautiful and very calming. We heard more talks from student ambassadors and had more small group sessions throughout the day, as well as went on a reflective walk with the hall staff and hall priest. We had a short mass that evening as well. On Sunday, we pretty much did closing activities and then made our way back to UP. Going on this retreat honestly helped in my adjustment to UP as well. Leaving for the weekend made coming back feel more like “home.”
Mackenzie (right) pictured with her roommate Livia (left) and their two new friends made on the retreat, Madison and Emily (middle left & middle right).
The attendees of the Fields Hall 2018 retreat.
4. Hall Council/Hall Events
Hall Council is typically held once a week for your dorm, and is lead by older students who live in the dorm as well as some of your hall staff. My roommate and I decided to attend the first one of the year so that we could meet new people and try to get involved in our hall. We both ended up running for positions on Hall Council, where I was elected 1st Floor Representative and my roommate was elected Event Coordinator. We got to do some pretty fun things in these roles, such as help plan our Big Little Tea, Winter Formal, Mom’s Weekend and a few other larger events along with smaller events for the dorm. I highly recommend attending these meetings even if you don’t want to hold a role on Hall Council because it’s a great way to get involved in your dorm and get to share your ideas!
As far as hall events are concerned — attend them! They are a lot of fun and a lot of work is put into them through the members of Hall Council. Mom’s Weekend was probably my favorite hall event of last year. It was unique to the dorm I lived in, Fields, but my mom and I had so much fun and it was definitely a weekend to remember. It’s also really neat to attend the events that you help plan on Hall Council because you get to see how you and your fellow Hall Council members’ work pays off.
5. Hall Mass
Hall Mass is another dorm-related activity in which you can go and have no religious affiliation whatsoever. From my personal experience, everyone has their own and unique reasons for attending Hall Mass. It is a Catholic mass, but some people go for personal reflection, a calming activity, or other reasons. Fields’ mass was held every Monday at 9:15pm, and was just a great way to end a stressful Monday back in classes for me. It became routine for me and my roommate to go together. People will literally go in their pajamas and slippers and it’s just a great community experience! I became a Eucharistic Minister for hall masses which I thoroughly enjoyed as it provided me an opportunity to grow deeper in my faith and to have a better understanding of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Following mass is the after-mass social! This is held usually in the lobby of the dorm and is also a great way to catch up with your friends and dorm neighbors and eat some yummy food. Even if you don’t attend mass, you are still more than welcome to attend the social! Last year, I remember they had nachos for us one night, and even ice cream sundaes another night. I met people through Hall Mass and the socials that I’m still friends with to this day. I highly recommend giving it a try!
Definitely get yourself involved in intramural sports! I’m sure they are all super fun, but I personally especially enjoy the sports offered during fall semester. All of the sports that I participated in were co-rec — beach volleyball, indoor volleyball, and basketball. It’s completely accessible in that you can get a group together and create a team, go in with a friend, or even by yourself. You can also pick what division you are in so you can either play competitively or just for fun. My beach volleyball team actually ended up making it to the finals in the playoffs!
I had completely different experiences with the three sports, and that is the beauty of intramurals! We took beach volleyball super seriously, but basketball we just messed around and had a lot of fun (and lost every game!). Indoor volleyball was somewhere in between. You can make of intramurals whatever you want to make of them. I recommend trying at least one during your freshman year!
Mackenzie (front right) with her intramural beach volleyball team before the final playoff game.
7. Fall & Spring Dances
UP puts on two dances throughout the school year that are held off campus. One is first semester, and is usually Halloween themed I believe. I could not attend this one because I had to go home that weekend, but I attended the second semester dance. This one rotates themes, but this year was “Dance of the Decades.” This is a super fun event to attend with friends! Dress up for the theme and go all out on the dance floor. Tickets are fairly inexpensive too — I want to say they were $10. UP even provides transportation through buses so you don’t even have to drive or pay for an uber there. Even if dances aren’t your thing, still attend — there are usually tables set up with some food, and a photo booth too!
8. Soccer Games
Soccer games are some of the most fun events to attend in the fall. When I decided to attend UP, I was disappointed that the school did not have a football team, but soccer is pretty much the heart of this school as far as sports are concerned. Led by the Villa Drum Squad, the student section is always packed and yelling out fun cheers. People will go all out in their purple and white pilot gear, and some people will even paint up their bodies. These are always a great time with friends, especially the Friday night home games! I wasn’t able to attend, but last year our men’s team made playoffs and played UCLA at home. The game was packed and looked like so much fun — I was disappointed I couldn’t go! Grab your friends, deck yourself out in purple and white, and go cheer on our men’s and women’s soccer teams this fall!
9. Pilots After Dark
Pilots After Dark is held every Friday and Saturday, from about 9pm-1am I believe. It is held in the Pilot House, and is just different activities that occur every weekend. There were bingo nights, karaoke nights, and I even think some nights with some live music. My favorite Pilots After Dark was the Shipstad (a dorm on campus) Talent Show. There were a lot of amazing acts as well as so many funny ones! This is your ideal weekend hangout if you’re looking for a chill evening, but don’t want to sit around in your dorm room. I think I showed up in sweats and a sweatshirt every time I went! Grab your friends and hit up Pilots After Dark.
10. Christmas Tree Lighting
I actually wasn’t able to attend this, but my friends said it was a lot of fun! It is held the Sunday at the end of Thanksgiving break, and one of the large trees on campus gets its lights turned on. I believe there was a photo booth there as well. I couldn’t attend because I returned so late from break that evening, but it’ll definitely be something I attend this year.
Also around this time, I want to say it was for a week or 2, someone was dressed up as Santa Claus outside of Franz! People could take pictures with him, and it was just kind of a fun, silly thing that they had going on on campus. Personally, Christmas time just reminds me of home because it’s such a family-oriented holiday, so having these fun little Christmas activities during the season made UP feel even more like home to me.
11. Christmas Festival
I don’t remember the exact name of this event, but it was held on the quiet side of the commons right before Christmas break. They had a walk-in snow globe, lots (and I mean lots!) of good Christmas desserts, and even had a build-a-bear type station! Outside, they had actual, living reindeer which was super neat, as well as a campfire going. And, as a bonus, this was all free. It was right before finals which was a pretty stressful time for me (as well as everyone else), so it was a much-needed study break where we got to relive our childhood years through making our own stuffed animals!
Mackenzie (middle right) along with her friends after the Christmas Festival.
Mackenzie (right) with her two friends in the walk-in snow globe.
12. Dorm Formal
I believe most, if not every dorm, has a Winter Formal in December. This is put on by Hall Council, and is usually with your neighboring dorm if your dorm is not co-ed. For example, Fields’ formal was combined with Schoenfeldt’s. It’s a great excuse to dress up for the occasion and hang out with your friends. I believe this requested a donation of meal points, but could be accommodated if you were running low. This was another event held prior to finals, and was a good way to take your mind off of your upcoming exams for a bit.
13. Rock the Bluff
This event takes place during second semester in either March or April. It is where they host a concert on campus at the Chiles Center! This year, the artist was Quinn XCII. I couldn’t go because that was mom’s weekend for my dorm, and my mom and I were already going to another concert. I heard it was a blast though, with festivities outside all day leading up to the concert. Plus, this is FREE for all students, as long as you can obtain a ticket! It is an awesome chance to get to see super popular artists at a smaller venue, and for free. Again – a fun spring event to attend with friends!
14. Baseball Games
Baseball games are my favorite sport to attend in the spring! Although I only went to a few, they were always a fun time in the sun. They even had some themed games, such as “bark in the park” where people actually brought their dogs. This game was right before finals so it was great puppy therapy to relieve some stress. Grab a blanket, some cracker jacks, and your friends and head out to support Pilot baseball!
15. Anchors Away
This is another event I wasn’t able to attend due to moving out, but this is held after the last day of finals during second semester. It is essentially “camp” (except it’s not overnight — only a few hours) outside by the quiet side of the Commons. They had a BBQ I believe, as well as a campfire and s’mores. It’s a great way to celebrate summer one last time with your friends before everyone goes their separate ways until the fall!
Thanks, Mackenzie! If you have any questions about any of these events or other events that take place on campus, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org