Undergraduates enjoy a warm, in-person Fall Fest welcome

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

A bustling crowd of Northeastern undergraduates touched elbows, bumped fists, and even gleefully hugged yesterday—happy to physically connect as they checked out dozens of student organizations at the first in-person Fall Fest since 2019.

Last year’s Fall Fest was virtual to ensure the Northeastern community remained safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Returning undergraduates and first-year students agreed that the outdoor, in-person event brought fresh excitement about the semester.

“It’s really exciting, but also a little nerve-wracking to be in-person. I’m really glad we’re able to be here this year,” said Elaine Chua, a first year accounting major who was learning about WISE, the Women’s Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship, located in the West Village quad.

“My senior year of high school was all online, so I haven’t been physically at school since junior year,” said Chua.

Rachel Domb, a co-director of WISE, says the student organizations serve an important purpose for new students and undergraduates to meet new people.

“I think that finding these small communities helps people connect, and it also makes everybody feel safe,” said Domb.

The sun-splashed event offered plenty of communities and groups to choose from. Representatives from groups  such as Northeastern Recreational Climbing  and the Women’s Basketball Club lined the brick path between the Cabot Gym and Snell Library, while the NUTV club attracted a large crowd outside the Curry Student Center.

In the Snell Quad, students were able to open virtual doorways and see students on international Northeastern campuses in London and Rome. Undergraduates strolling through Centennial Common snacked on popcorn and M&M cookies while checking out the Chinese Student Association and Barkada, a club that celebrates Filipino culture, education and community.

“I’m just super excited to be back,” said Vito Montesa, a third-year mechanical engineering major who is president of Barkada this year. “We all miss having everyone together in a classroom, or even just going out to dinner or lunch with friends.”

In between sipping lemonade and collecting Northeastern swag, several students at  Fall Fest grabbed a quick word with Joseph E. Aoun, the president of Northeastern, as he walked around campus introducing himself and greeting those who returned.

“I really appreciate that he takes some time to talk to students about what’s going on,” said Luca Vasiliu, a second-year civil engineering major who briefly spoke with Aoun during the event. “Especially after last year since it was virtual and a little isolated.”

Meanwhile, those new to the Boston campus were able to get a lay of the land while checking out games like cornhole and super-sized Jenga.

Rene James, a first-year architecture major, was just soaking up the welcoming vibes.

“There’s a lot of people here. I feel like everyone is super friendly,” said James. “It’s kind of easy to mingle with people. We’re all just looking for friends and stuff.”

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