Students kick off new semester with bi-annual WelcomeFest


Dylan Mescher

Spring 2023 WelcomeFest, Jan. 31.

Students had the opportunity to learn about local businesses and organizations at Iowa State’s bi-annual WelcomeFest Tuesday night.

The event took place in the Memorial Union Great Hall from 5:30 to 8 p.m. WelcomeFest is held at the beginning of every semester to introduce students to Ames and welcome them into the community.

Much of WelcomeFest’s planning and design is done by Kristine Heflin, the student event planner at the Memorial Union.

“A lot of Ames businesses and organizations want to show their products to students or hire them for future events,” Heflin said. “A lot of it is an outreach to local businesses and organizations.”

Heflin’s work involves finding who goes where and making sure there is enough space for students to walk around. She is also in charge of making sure vendors are spaced out in an effective way.

One of the businesses that attended WelcomeFest was the CTC Barber Academy, a local barber school and barbershop. Joseph Evans, an instructor, promoted the organization to students at the event.

“We’re the first barber school to attend WelcomeFest, so it’s a milestone for Iowa State,” Evans said. “The goal tonight is to let people know where they can get good haircuts for a cheap price, or try and work towards a new career.”

WelcomeFest is also an opportunity for Iowa State to promote its own organizations. One of these is ISU 4U Promise. This group is a promising partnership between the Iowa State College of Human Sciences, King Elementary School and Moulton Elementary school. They have attended previous WelcomeFests with its program specialist, Shari Miller.

“Our goal is to get students to access the college access and affordability initiative,” Miller said. “We want them to engage elementary students in a growing culture. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people who want to help kids with their education and give them a break from the academics.”

Businesses and organizations were not the only prominent feature of WelcomeFest. Students of all majors came in and began searching for an organization or business to apply for a Spring position, especially for those searching for an internship.

One of these students, Noah Miller, a senior studying supply chain management, attended his third WelcomeFest.

“It’s a great chance to come out and get to know more about local organizations to get involved with,” Miller said. “I wanted to find something to join before graduation to help make a little change in the community.”

For more information on WelcomeFest, visit the Iowa State Student Engagement website.