WelcomeFest to connect students to Ames businesses


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

Students fill the Great Hall during WelcomeFest Wednesday evening. WelcomeFest, an annual event held each fall, gives Iowa State students an opportunity to learn about different businesses in Ames.

Amber Mohmand

To build a connection between the Iowa State and Ames community, the Student Activities Center will host their annual WelcomeFest at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

WelcomeFest is an event to connect Iowa State students with the Ames community by inviting community members to highlight their businesses.

The free event is planned by the Student Activities Center and is open to all Iowa State students. Tim Reuter, service learning and student organizations coordinator, is one of three planners covering logistics for the WelcomeFest.

“It’s the one time of year where students have the ability to see all of these people and all these vendors in one place just to get a sense of what else is in the Ames community,” Reuter said. “Really it’s kinda like a ‘ClubFest’ for the Ames community essentially so they get to see what’s beyond the campus borders.” 

The event hosts more than 100 businesses in Ames and the Iowa State Department and brings four thousand students to learn more about the community, according to the website. WelcomeFest brings businesses from areas including real estate, food and many others. 

“It’s really just a chance for those folks to come in and show what services they have to offer to ISU students and for ISU students to see what there is in the broader Ames community,” Reuter said. 

WelcomeFest will be a platform for students to learn more about businesses and programs, such as the Iowa State University Police Department and the University Library, from which there will be representatives to explain what they do and offer. The event is also used as a fundraising opportunity for the Memorial Union. 

“It also helps us fundraise some money to support our own internal programs,” Reuter said. “The vendors that register for the event, they have to pay to be at the event as well, and so that money goes towards supporting the programs that we do within the Memorial Union as well.” 

The Memorial Union hosts programs such as The Workspace, a studio for students to work on arts and crafts. The Workspace holds various events ranging from painting to creating pottery. 

Allison Hellman, a junior in integrated studio arts and supervisor for two years within The Workspace, said the program is a place to begin or continue their artwork. 

“The Workspace is a community art place for people to just gather and do some crafts, take some classes – just get new experiences [students] typically wouldn’t get,” Hellman said. 

The program provides classes, walk-in activities and open studios for students. 

“We have a lot of different activities for any range of artistic ability so it’s really open for anyone – young, old – just really inclusive down there,” Hellman said.

The Workspace is located in the east basement within the Memorial Union and will also be at WelcomeFest. Hellman will be at the desk and will demonstrate various ceramic techniques such as “throwing,” which is the process of shaping the clay on a pottery wheel. 

For events similar to WelcomeFest, the Student Activities Center also hosts ClubFest, which is an event dedicated to student organizations within Iowa State that will be held 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 11 on Central Campus.