GUEST COMMENTARY: Come on and join the fun!

Kyle Peterson and Megan Todd/Veishea General Co-Chairs

Welcome to your Veishea 2008 celebration!

What began in 1922 as a celebration to unify and showcase the five original colleges has grown into one of the nation’s largest student-run festivals. Veishea, named after the colleges at that time – Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics and Agriculture – is now celebrating its 86th year. And it really is your celebration, as Cyclones and as students. Beginning last April, more than 250 student leaders began pouring thousands of hours into making Veishea 2008 a success, and we’re proud of what they have accomplished. (If you’re interested, Executive Board applications for Veishea 2009 are now available online.)

Because of their hard work, this year’s celebration will host an exciting array of activities and events – some traditional, some new. Veishea 2008 has the privilege of serving as the closing to Iowa State’s 150th anniversary celebration. This year’s Veishea theme, “The Legacy Continues,” highlights both ISU history and the part Veishea has long played in the ISU tradition. For example, the original Lancelot and Elaine, the first swans to inhabit Lake LaVerne, were donated to ISU by the Veishea Central committee of 1935. Today, as we celebrate the 86th year of Veishea, we have a chance to look back on the long-standing tradition and the thousands of students who have helped shape Veishea into the glory of what it is today.

With such rich tradition behind us, we are looking forward to building on Veishea’s legacy for many years to come – starting today. Veishea 2008 will incorporate your favorite Veishea traditions such as the parade, cherry pies and Stars Over Veishea. We are proud to welcome ISU alumnus and NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson to serve as this year’s parade marshal. We are also proud to have a piece of not only ISU history, but of U.S. history on campus for Veishea. The Morrill Act, which led to the founding of land-grant institutions such as Iowa State, will be on display in Morrill Hall throughout the weekend.

But what we’re most excited for is what Veishea is all about – showcasing the incredible talents of Iowa State’s students, faculty and alumni. On Thursday, 10 gifted students will perform as a part of Cyclone Idol, an “American Idol”-style musical competition held in Stephens Auditorium. Several student bands are performing in Friday’s Battle of the Bands, and Friday and Saturday, student and community talent will take the form of the musical “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” And throughout the parade, and the displays and exhibits on campus as a part of Veishea Village, we’re proud to showcase many of Iowa State’s plethora of student organizations.

What makes Veishea unique is that all of this is in the hands of students. From concept to creation, and promotion to execution, students are involved and responsible at all levels. That’s how Veishea was designed from the start, from its humble beginning as a group of students meeting in conference rooms (student office spaces weren’t available, as the Memorial Union was not yet constructed). So we’d like to thank students for all of their hard work. We also thank the faculty, staff, Ames community and alumni for their continuous support and efforts in making Veishea 2008 the the best the ISU community has ever seen.

Thank you for joining us for Veishea 2008. Enjoy the celebration!

– Megan Todd and Kyle Peterson are the general co-chairs for Veishea 2008.