Not just “1Night,” but six nights: that’s how many evenings the University Programs Council has filled with opportunities for first-years and upperclassmen alike to reconnect and kickoff the 2017-18 school year right. “Welcome Week,” an annual event, occurs during the first week of classes at U.Va. and offers a diverse array of programs to students in the hopes of appealing to as much of the student body as possible.
“The UPC is an agency organization,” said Dean Marshall Pattie, assistant vice president for student affairs and associate dean of students. “Agency organizations are essentially a branch of the University. At most other schools around the country, professional staff are doing the roles that students fill in agency organizations at U.Va.”
The University provides agency organizations with money so that they can best fulfill their intended roles. For the UPC, that role is to provide programming that will both help and entertain students.
“Every student at the University pays a series of fees and a portion of those goes to the University Planning Council, because UPC is charged by the University to provide programming that is of benefit and interest to the student body,” Pattie said. “The head of UPC and his executive board decides how that want to spend that money, ... what their strategic goals for the year are [and] what sort of programming they want to do.”
In order to best complete their job, UPC has surveyed students in recent years to find out what sort of events they’d like to partake in and the performers they like best for a concert held on move-in weekend. “Last year we sent out a poll to figure out which artists students would most like to see at the opening concert,” said Madeleine Budreau, a third-year College student and UPC concert committee director.
In recent years, the University has been booking increasingly popular performers for the opening weekend concert. According to Pattie, this effort is in large part to counter a large, annual event known commonly as Block Party that occurs on Wertland Street. Block Party often results in many arrests from unsafe drinking and reckless behavior.
This year, however, police made only at Block Party and received three rescue calls. “People will often ask us, ‘did you create some of these activities to specifically respond to the block party?’ and the answer is yes and no,” Pattie said. “No, because these are things that any University the caliber of U.Va. needs to be able offer its students when they come back to school … so irrespective of block party we would still have welcome week activities.”
performed last year and Future and Lil’ Yachty were slated to perform at this year’s opening weekend concert — however, the artists canceled two days before the event out of respect for recent tragic events in Charlottesville.
Budreau said she was at work when she found out about the cancelation, and drove immediately to Charlottesville once she got off work to try to figure out what to do next.
“I was shocked more than anything else,” Budreau said. “We were extremely ready to go.”
However, she applauds the rest of the committee’s hard work in trying to book another artist. The team came extremely close to finding another performer but decided to save the money they were going to spend for another possible concert down the road.
“I’m down to start planning it now,” Budreau said. “We can do something even better.”
While the kickoff concert was the biggest of the events that the UPC had planned for opening week, it has several others — including Rotunda Sing — planned as well. “I’m definitely most excited to go to Rotunda Sing,” second-year Engineering student Emma Chamberlayne said.
“It’s one of those U.Va. traditions that really makes you feel like you’re part of the community and I had a great time going with my hall last year.”