A class “bound to make an impact”

UW-Eau Claire welcomes the Class of 2019 to campus

More stories from Sami West


Photo by Sami West

Freshmen Blugolds wander the campus mall in search of their classes to prevent first day stress.

Self-described as a large class built on positive attitudes, togetherness and high energy, the Class of 2019 has officially moved in, and is ready to make their mark.

Saturday, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire welcomed a larger-than- life class of 2019 to campus. Literally, the largest freshman class since 1984.

The first few days of college are filled with a mixture of emotions, both positive and negative, though most insist their emotions have been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s been really busy with all the scheduled events,” freshman Natalie Robb, art education major said. “It’s hard to be sad because we’re so busy.”

Freshman kinesiology student Alex Richert has enjoyed the delicate balance between freedom and structure.

From classic beginning of the year events such as the Tie-Dye Affair, Moonlight Mixer and Davies Welcome Home Celebration, to new events on campus such as the first ever freshman class photo and Run the Hill, there has rarely been a dull moment for the Class of 2019.

During those dull moments, however, many freshmen are unsure of what to do.

“Sometimes I wonder ‘What are we supposed to do now?’ when there isn’t an event,” freshman chemistry major Kaylie Asch said. “But at the same time, we’re so busy.”

During those times, anxiety about the official start of classes builds.

“I’m the most nervous about just walking to my first class, honestly,” Robb said. “And being all alone in a big lecture hall.”

Others, like Amee Marx, a freshman nursing student, worry more about the overall transition.

“I worry about how much you need to study, and the whole transition, being on your own, not having your parents there,and not knowing what to do,” Marx said.

Senior special education major and Oak Ridge RA Clarissa Cleven-Peterson has already noticed differences between this year’s freshman class compared to last year, partially because of the university’s new approach to welcome weekend.

“They have a lot of new opportunities and initiatives they’re trying,” Cleven-Peterson said. “I’m interested to see how they work out for this class.”

Others cite campus-wide friendliness as the reason their transition from high school to college life has been successful so far.

“I feel like (the university) did really well welcoming us, and people are so open,” Gayatri Ayula, freshman computer science major said. “Everyone’s really nice—almost too nice.”

Resident assistants have also helped enormously to ease new students’ concerns, Kaylie Asch, freshman chemistry major, said.

RA Clarissa Cleven-Peterson has noticed more hesitance in response to the newfound freedom of being a freshman in college.

“There’s a lot more dependency on me and the other resident assistants this year,” Cleven-Peterson said. “But they’re intrigued by new ideas and trying new things.”

She also notices how their bonding as a class has progressed much differently than her own class.

“They seem to be getting connected really quick, and they’re more open to meeting new people,” Cleven-Peterson said. “They know it’s going to be awkward no matter what.”

The Class of 2019, thrilled for their new beginning at Eau Claire, is sure they’re going to make a difference as a class throughout the next four years.

“Considering how big we are, we’re bound to make an impact,” freshman Gayatri Akula said. “All of us, together.”