Satire: UMass welcome week succeeds in making everybody feel unwelcome

A review of welcome week and the regrettable tone it sets for the year

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Jessica Picard/Daily Collegian

By Kelly McMahan, Collegian Satire Columnist

Editor’s Note: The following column is satirical. It is meant for humorous purposes. All interviews and individuals are fictitious.

Ah yes, the most magical time of year — welcome week. The days are long, the weather is warm and students are coming off summer break with just enough pent-up restlessness to keep them overstimulated. With all of welcome week’s events and activities, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by its unbearable camp.

Fear not! I have devised a comprehensive review of welcome week’s events to get you hyped, regardless of how unwelcoming it feels.

As the sun goes down, that’s when the party really starts. After all, everyone knows that the hippest place to be on a Saturday night is a 45-minute line on Goodell Lawn. That’s right, we’re talking about UFest. If you’re coming into college seeking nothing less than 15 mosquito bites, then this is the event for you.

UFest has everything. You can dance, you can mosh and you can get permanent hearing damage from the double-speaker bass of “INDUSTRY BABY” by Lil Nas X. Don’t worry, it’s all worth it for the compensation of free Insomnia Cookies. After all, you don’t need to be able to hear in order to taste that buttery macadamia nut goodness.

For those who are thinking about entering Amherst’s rave scene, look no further than UMass GlowFest to convince you otherwise. Stain your nicest sneakers on the draught-ridden grass underneath the low-wattage pizzazz of a singular 10-inch disco ball.

For the wet blankets in your friend group, there are also a handful of office-style mini golf greens stationed throughout campus. After all, nothing says “welcome to college” like working on your short game.

Mall Madness is the next big-ticket event. In this 24-hour worship to the monument of consumerism, you and your besties can get lost in the liminal hallways of Hampshire Mall. On your way out, swing by the mall’s 1980s-themed roller skating rink if you’re looking to meet hot local singles in their early fifties.

The next morning, be sure to get outdoors and visit the Old Chapel lawn’s pop-up stands and experience the rapidly fleeting pleasures of warm New England weather. With all the prize wheel giveaways, you will almost forget the fact that you’re being actively solicited by a credit card company.

But not all the handouts are from big business. You might be lucky enough to get a stylish XXL black t-shirt that says “YouMass 2022 Yasssss!” from the Student Success Center that you will only ever wear to sleep. Many student organizations also hand out candy, baked goods and unrefrigerated peaches. After all, there’s nothing college kids like more than free food.

Well, there is one thing — free condoms! And boy, oh boy does UMass deliver on that end. Whether you’re putting them in your friends’ mailboxes as a joke or carrying them around to convince yourself that you might get some action someday, UMass has got you —quite literally— covered.

That being said, incoming students must be warned to look both ways before crossing the sidewalk lest they get run over by Captain Condom’s promotional golf cart. Stay vigilant. Don’t become a statistic.

After plenty of university-approved activities, some may be looking for some notably university-unapproved activities.

If you like spending prolonged amounts of time in dark basements, look no further than frat row! This region of campus, spanning a whopping 125 feet (which is about one-third the length of the McGuirk Stadium football field), is famous for its lack of hospitality, poor ventilation and open-door urinals.

Despite these incredibly attractive traits, if you’re looking to catch a break on frat row, then you better be prepared to, as the guy on door duty would say, “catch this ratio.” In other words, let’s hope you can find at least 20 girls at your disposal to haggle your sorry behind in there. Take notice, because the ratio demand might be the only time you see some of these college boys treating women as if they actually have value.

If you happen to make it beyond the iron curtain, be prepared for the extensive bag security check. Following strict TSA-level search codes, abhorrent contraband such as water, hand sanitizer and (most hated of all) face masks will have you ejected, banned, ostracized, cyberbullied, executed, etc. — and for good reason. After all, according to ancient UMass lore, if someone wears a mask during a frat party, the frat guys will suddenly turn to stone like goblins exposed to sunlight.

With events hand-crafted to showcase everyone at their absolute worst, remember that the most important part was the friends we lost along the way.

But at the end of the day, welcome week is truly the greatest equalizer. On a campus with thousands of students, welcome week events make us realize that we’re not so different after all — we’re all coming back to school feeling a little unwelcome.

Kelly McMahan can be reached at [email protected].