The Pirate Experience | Beaufort County Now | In-person activities will welcome students to campus

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Crystal Baity.

Bianca Eason tries her luck at an inflatable challenge course during 2018’s Raid the Rec. | Photo: Rhett Butler

    East Carolina University students will have the opportunity to meet new people and make connections at several on-campus events before fall classes start on Aug. 23.

    Part of the newly branded Pirate Experience, the welcome events will include outdoor movies, Raid the Rec, Pirate Palooza, convocation and class photos on the football field.

    "We know that what separates ECU from other institutions is that experience — the Pirate Experience," said Erik J. Kneubuehl, associate vice chancellor of student involvement and leadership in the Division of Student Affairs. "While the first few weeks of fall are important, it is only the start to what occurs all year long, and we wanted a name that identified all that makes East Carolina University so special."

PeeDee welcomes students to 2018 Pirate Palooza. | Photo: Cliff Hollis
    As students settle into residence halls, they can take a break and watch "The Greatest Showman" at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 on the lawn outside the Main Campus Student Center on the jumbo Pirate Vision screen.

    On Aug. 20, Raid the Rec will happen 7–10 p.m. in the Eakin Student Recreation Center. Students need only their 1Card to jump in inflatables, enjoy free food from Clean Eatz, Jimmy John's, Smashed Waffles and Dominos, and get free T-shirts.

    Students can participate in fitness and intramural sports challenges including Bubble Sumo, ascend the climbing wall, Stuff-a-Plush toy, shoot archery, and discover club sports teams and well-being activities while listening to a live DJ. New this year, a movie, "F9: The Fast Saga," will be shown on the brickyard area in front of the student recreation center from 8:30–10:30 p.m. along with free Kona Ice.

    "We hope students can find a home at Campus Recreation and Wellness whether it is on a club sports team, playing an intramural sport with friends, taking an adventure trip or working out during our group fitness classes," said Gregory Corack, associate director for leadership and programs at Campus Recreation and Wellness.

    The 20th annual Pirate Palooza will run 5–8 p.m. on Aug. 21 at the Main Campus Student Center. Activities and booths will be set up indoors as well as in parking lots just outside the center. The carnival-themed event will have T-shirts, giveaways, rides, attractions, music and more.

    "We hope that students understand that the out-of-classroom opportunities are just as important as the in-classroom experiences because both truly help shape them as individuals, as a community, and help impact their entire college journey," said Ashley Walker, associate director of campus activities and events.

    On Aug. 22, convocation begins at 4 p.m. in Minges Coliseum followed by a class photo of freshmen and sophomores on the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium field. Students will move directly from the coliseum to the stadium at about 4:45 p.m.

    "This year we are inviting both the Class of 2025 and the Class of 2024 to participate since 2024 did not get the opportunity for these in-person events last year," said Karen Smith, director of the Office of Student Transitions, adding that students should wear purple for the photo. "We hope students will feel a part of Pirate Nation and be excited about the start of their collegiate journey."

Students learn a cheer during ECU’s 2019 convocation. | Photo: Cliff Hollis
    Chancellor Philip Rogers, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Virginia Hardy, Athletic Director Jon Gilbert and Student Government Association President Chandler Ward will welcome students, who will be introduced to team coaches and Pirate traditions led by the Marching Pirates and ECU cheerleaders.

    "Convocation is the bookend to commencement," Smith said. "Convocation officially welcomes students and celebrates the beginning of their higher education journey while commencement concludes and celebrates the achievement. It also creates the sense of belonging which is so vital in the transition process. Convocation is the first time the incoming class is all together and teaches traditions, helps students make friends and have fun!"

    Organizers expect to see thousands of students over the weekend since the events will be the first large group activities on campus since 2019.

    "These events are vital in setting the foundation and tone for a student's experience in college, especially at ECU," Walker said. "Students will be able to not only participate in fun activities and gather items to help them remember these events, but they will also be able to have the opportunity to meet new people and make connections with their peers as well as professionals. These events are just the beginning of the Pirate Experience!"
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