In years past, Cal Poly’s Week of Welcome (WOW) has ended in a concert — a fun way to conclude freshman orientation. Last year, the “iSpy” singer KYLE performed in the University Union (UU), and the year prior, the group AJR put on a show via Zoom. But this year, there was no such thing.
Liberal studies sophomore Ella Weinhart was a WOW leader this year and said WOW leaders were never directly told there wouldn’t be a concert.
“They just kind of left it as if there wasn’t [a concert] in the past,” Weinhart said. “They just kind of ignored that.”
Many, like environmental engineering freshman Nicoletta Frumusa-Shepherd, had never heard of the WOW concerts from years past, nor did their WOW leaders mention it. Frumusa-Shepherd also found there to be a lack of structure on the part of the organizers.
“[WOW leaders] weren’t given enough information to plan things,” Frumusa-Shepherd said.
Recreation, parks and tourism administration sophomore Jenna Wayland and her fellow leader wanted their group to have that experience.
“I feel like it would’ve been a fun time [for them],” Wayland said.
Many people believe Cal Poly chose not to have a WOW concert this year after how rowdy the KYLE concert was in 2021. Weinhart said it was easy for everyone to assume that was the main reason.
“It was chaos,” Weinhart said in regard to last year’s concert. “There wasn’t enough room, it wasn’t regulated well, people were getting hurt.”
Last year’s concert was held in the UU, which includes a small outdoor stage and an open area in the middle. This is much smaller than Cal Poly’s Spanos Stadium, which Weinhart believes would have been a better venue option.
Without this concert to wrap up WOW, leaders had to search for other activities. Both Weinhart’s and Wayland’s groups chose a bonfire, but Wayland noted that finding nighttime events was not easy.
“There’s very strict rules for what you can and can’t do with your WOWies, and when it’s past dinner time there’s very little that you can do,” Wayland said. “If they had the concert that would’ve been a good thing to do after.”
Some students, like industrial engineering freshman Lenka Bishoff, do wish that there were more activities planned, on and off campus, even if it wasn’t a concert.
“I feel like there could’ve been more activities to do, especially off campus,” Bishoff said. “But on campus would’ve been more accessible to freshmen.
Cal Poly has not publicly commented on why no concert was held this year, leaving WOWies, WOW leaders and those who have attended past WOW concerts speculating.