Spring Fest, the first entirely in-person event of the semester, welcomed approximately 100 students and staff alike outdoors at the Student Recreation Center’s University field, April 23.
As guests entered the field, they were welcomed at the sign-in table and received a list of all the university organizations and programs attending the event. Miners dawning shirts that read “Students First” were eager to reach out to every guest. Among some of the groups at the event were UTEP Recreation the social media team, the Career Center, the Collegiate Recovery Program, sorority groups and the rugby team, each providing valuable information about their duties to current students and prospective Miners that attended with their families.
Annet Rodriguez, program coordinator for the Terry Scholars Program at UTEP, was grateful to return to in-campus activities and interact with students once again in a safe environment.
“I work with all the current Terry Scholars at UTEP, so I miss seeing their faces. It’s very exciting to have these events on campus, that way any student can have a good time,” Rodriguez said. “We have all been taking the safety measures necessary to make sure all students and employees feel safe, so I am very excited for students to be back on campus.”
There were many activities on the field for attendees to enjoy, including grass volleyball, soccer, frisbee, a tug-of-war game and inflatable knocker-balls. As more guests arrived, students began holding friendly competitions against one another, while UTEP Cheerleaders cheered from the side.
The back area of the field was dedicated to a wide, safely distanced seating area where guests could enjoy free food and individually packaged s’mores as treats served by students wearing protective, sanitary serving gear like gloves and face masks.
Music for the event was provided by guest DJ Johnny Cage. Tents were set up around the event providing protective gloves and hand sanitizer for everyone and the Student Recreation Center provided free face gaiters.
Perla Ricartti, a Junior mechanical engineering student at UTEP, praised the university’s dedication to sanitary practices and prioritizing cleanliness.
“It’s really exciting. I think we are doing it one step at a time, and we are going to get through the pandemic this way,” Ricartti said. “I feel so safe. I work at the [Recreational Center], and we always disinfect and clean all the equipment and machines, so I think we are going through a lot of safety protocols, and we are doing good.”
Overall, students expressed gratitude to be on campus with their fellow miners. and some even stated that in-person classes are an aspect of campus life they anticipate returning to the most.
Spring Fest marked a joyous occasion of relief and school pride for students as the University takes the next steps to return better than ever.
Julian Herrera may be reached at [email protected].edu.