ENMU welcomes back students with Dawg Days

By Jillian Holbert: PNT corrrespondent

Eastern New Mexico University’s 2011 Dawg Days freshman orientation program ended with a splash Tuesday as the university’s freshmen lined up for fun in the sun at a four-piece water park event.

Faculty served cotton candy and other treats as students, new and returning alike, participated in wet relays, bungee races and hoop-dunking contests, as well as playing on water slides at the Dallan Sanders Patio.

The freshman orientation started Saturday with students moving into the residence halls and continued for four days. ENMU classes start today.

“Dawg Days is crucial, but it only works if people actually attend Dawg Days,” Eddy Hall residential assistant Ashley Romine said. “Typically, the people who tell you Dawg Days is lame are the people that chose to hang out in their room as opposed to doing the awesome stuff the university spent months planning.”

The result of the planning included a welcoming barbecue for friends and family of students, a display of fireworks, an ice cream social, and three live shows featuring a comedian, a hypnotist and a band to which many danced the two-step.

“I really like the Dawg Days, especially being away from home,” freshman Jeraldine Henio said. “It helps you socialize with people and not get homesick. It gives you fun stuff to do instead of being cooped up in your room.”

Henio’s favorite Dawg Days event was the annual Capturing the Greyhound, a scavenger hunt designed to help freshman becoming better orientated with the school.

“That’s a tradition,” said Romine, a fifth-year senior. “It sort of ties together the upperclassmen and the freshmen so they can tell stories.”

As a reminder to all freshmen before an event, upperclassmen run through the halls, ringing cowbells and blowing plastic trumpets.

“The upperclassmen are really nice,” Henio said. “They have this cheerful attitude that helps you feel happy about being here.”

Romine said upperclassmen understand what freshmen are experiencing because they’ve been there.

“We are, at times, especially meal time when we’re hungry, a little less tolerant of the new mass of people,” Romine said, “but eventually, everyone meshes together.”