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Getting students out of dorms and outdoors for first Connection Day

In place of what would traditionally be the first day of school, hundreds of students instead hiked, biked and even mediated as a part of Western’s first Connections Day. Classes were pushed back one additional day is in observance of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. That meant another day of orientation opportunity during Western Welcome Week  to the Associated Students coordinator of student activities Casey Hayden. The event was a collection of many activities, such as climbing, biking, hiking, kayaking around Bellingham, as well as a community art board and scavenger hunts around campus. Hayden, the facilitator of the event, said that the day is about finding one’s place at Western. “Connection Day is about choice. Students may choose to connect with nature, with the broader campus community, with smaller groups of students who share their passions and interests, or just with themselves or a roommate,” he said in a press release. Nicholas Thompson, a Western junior at Connection Day, thought Connections Day accomplished Hayden’s goal. “Right off the bat you have more fun things to do,” Thompson said, comparing the event to the annual Red Square Info Fair. “At connection day each group or club has something special for them to participate in. This helps them decide if they want to join the club or not.” Those who steer clear of the outdoors were able to attend a free hip hop concert in Red Square, where Mostafa Supergroup performed while students ate free ice cream distributed at the event. Isaac Halberstadt, also a Western junior, said he thought the use of extra time was amazing. He thought Connection Day was more specialized and spread out than Info Fair which has "everyone in one space going nuts," he

Hip hop performer Mostafa performs his concert in Red Square Wednesday, Sept. 23 as a part of the new AS event Connection Day.
said. “With time off for the holiday it’s a great idea to let students get together to find out things they like and make new friends,” Halberstadt said. Other events included Fans, Geeks, & Gamers Unite!, Environmental & Political Rally and an Ethnic Student Center Open Forum: Input on New Space. There were twenty-eight events in total. The event was a part of Western Welcome Week will continue until Saturday, Sept. 26.

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