Campus street scene gets lively with new welcome-back party

First published in Around the O on October 3rd, 2018.

Friday, Oct. 12, will be a busy day on the UO campus.

The ASUO Street Faire, Black Alumni Reunion, Duck Preview and Board Summit will bring hundreds of future and forever Ducks to campus. UO athletics will be preparing for Matt Knight Madness that evening and the next day’s football matchup against rival University of Washington Huskies.

It’s the perfect time for a party.

To that end, the city of Eugene and the UO will host a community welcome event, EUGfun! Campus, from 3:30-6:30 p.m. that Friday. The family-friendly block party is free and features live music, arts and crafts activities, a beer garden, a PeaceHealth Rides mural tour and much more.

“EUGfun! Campus will be an opportunity for university and city leaders as well as alumni, friends and community members to welcome back students to Eugene and celebrate the beginning of another exciting academic year,” said Matt Roberts, senior director of UO community relations.

Soul Vibrator

The block party marks a change in format for an annual tradition: Started in 2009, the Community Welcome saw city and university leaders visiting off-campus student residences on foot. The annual stroll helped foster university-community relationships and provided students information about respectful and safe off-campus living.

The inspiration for the reconfigured event was a pep rally at an out-of-state university Roberts visited. The evening before a rival football game, streets were closed off, vendors and information tables were set up and a stage featured live entertainment.

While pep rallies focus on athletics, the way the event brought community members and students out of their homes and residence halls to celebrate together gave Roberts an idea: Why not repurpose the structure for the Community Welcome event?

Roberts brought the idea to colleagues at the city and UOPD, and both were immediately enthusiastic about the reimagined event.

EUGfun! Campus will allow students and community members to meet and interact in a casual, festive environment, in large part due to a partnership with the city.

“The city of Eugene is excited about this new opportunity to partner with the University of Oregon in connecting students and the campus experience with the broader Eugene community,” said Jason Dedrick, who works in the city manager’s office. “Our goal is to provide a welcoming space where students and community members can come together to learn about city services, how to get involved with their neighborhood associations and also just have fun.”

To make room for the party, East 13th Avenue will be closed between Alder and Kincaid streets, and Kincaid Street will close between 12th and 14th avenues starting around 6 a.m. Friday. The Associated Students of the University of Oregon will extend its Street Faire hours on Friday to allow participants to enjoy both their vendors and the EUGfun! Campus activities. Businesses along East 13th Avenue will also open their doors, with some offering free samples and raffles for gift cards and other prizes.

Musical acts Ratie and Friends and Soul Vibrator will take to the main stage starting at 4 p.m. Attendees can get creative with hands-on activities at the Art Hub or take a guided tour of the 20x21 mural project on a PeaceHealth Rides bike. Mayor Lucy Vinis and UO President Michael Schill will address the crowd around 5 p.m. with a welcome message, and city councilors will be available for drop-in conversations throughout the event.

Afterward, participants are encouraged to make their way to Matt Knight Madness, a preview of the 2018-19 season for the Duck men’s and women’s basketball teams. The free event begins at 6 p.m. at Knight Arena and will feature a three-point shooting contest, a dunk contest and scrimmages by both the men’s and women’s teams.

EUGfun! Campus is open to all UO students, faculty members and staff, as well as community members. No registration is necessary. To learn more, visit the Facebook event or contact Larissa Ennis, assistant director of community relations, at lennis@uoregon.edu.