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Reflections of a Dawg Daze Leader

October 22, 2013

Photo by First Year Programs.

[Photo courtesy of First Year Programs.]

What’s purple and gold, lasts one week, and is full of first-year students? Dawg Daze, of course! Run by the First Year Programs office, Dawg Daze is a week-long series of events that serve to welcome freshmen and transfer students to the University of Washington. Ranging from One Bus Away tours of Seattle to classes at the IMA, Dawg Daze consists of a plethora of events (and freebies!) that will not only help first-years settle into the UW, but to also meet new friends and build connections. With over 250 events, there is something for everyone, even returning students. The purpose of Dawg Daze is simple: Explore. Connect. Get Involved. As a Dawg Daze Leader, I was able to do just that. Clad in my gold Dawg Daze t-shirt, I spent my last days of summer welcoming a brand new set of Huskies to the UW.

My Dawg Daze Leader T-shirt, badge, pass, and booklet.

My Dawg Daze Leader T-shirt, badge, pass, and booklet. [Photo by Kae Saeteurn.]

My duties consisted of the “So You Think You Know UW?” campus tour and two One Bus Away trips Downtown. While my legs were tired and weather conditions were rarely in my favor, I genuinely enjoyed leading the tours. I formed new friendships with fellow Dawg Daze Leaders and interacted with new students, including a 15-year-old freshman! On top of that, I learned a few new things about the UW.

Did you know that the Varsity Bell at Denny Hall only chimes during Homecoming? (The chimes heard on the hour are just a recording.) Or that the cherry blossom trees on the Quad form a W-formation when seen from above? Even the off-campus tours showed me something new—I finally visited the very first Starbucks, and discovered how difficult it is to walk and talk backwards in the process.

But the highlight of my experience as a Dawg Daze Leader was definitely Sunday’s Husky Kick-Off—an event I actually missed out on as a freshman. I wanted to redeem that lost experience by participating in the first “W” photo taken inside the newly renovated Husky Stadium.

The five hour long process began inside the Dempsey Indoor Center. After a fair amount of roaring, awkward hand hugs and rock-paper-scissors matches, the Dawg Daze and FIG/TrIG (Freshman Interest Groups/Transfer Interest Groups) Leaders shepherded 6,000 or so nervous freshman and transfer students into Husky Stadium. Several “Goooo!!! Huskies!!!” chants later, we formed the much anticipated “W” photo. The rainbow that stretched over Husky Stadium after the photo confirmed that my favorite Dawg Daze event would end beautifully. (You can check out past “W” photos here.)

Freshmen and transfer students playing icebreaker games.

Freshmen and transfer students playing icebreaker games inside Dempsey Indoor Center. [Photo by Kae Saeteurn.]

Experiencing Dawg Daze as a volunteer allowed me to end my summer strong and begin the brand new school year with a bang. Being a Leader enabled me to explore the UW and Seattle through a different lens, connect with other students and get involved with the UW in a new, unique way. Most of all, interacting with the first-years reminded me of how far along I’ve come in my journey as an undergrad.

For those looking to get more involved with the UW, volunteering as a Dawg Daze Leader is a great way to form new bonds and create exciting new memories. I’m already looking forward to applying for next year and donning that golden T-shirt again.

To learn more about Dawg Daze and becoming a volunteer, click here. To see some #tagboard photos taken by students, click here.

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