When students return to UWM’s campus for in-person classes, Fall Welcome 2021 and Pantherfest will look different, while also celebrating the new academic year in style.
Pantherfest, a celebration highlighted by a concert featuring up-and-coming artists at the Summerfest grounds, will return after being canceled last year but will move from fall to spring. The change is due to scheduling conflicts with Summerfest and pandemic-related safety precautions. Summerfest usually takes place midsummer but was moved this year to the first three weekends of September.
“We hear repeatedly that students meet their best friends for their whole college careers in the lines associated with Pantherfest,” said Becca Grassl, assistant director of Student Involvement. “That has been a time when (students have) met new people and felt really connected to campus. We want to maintain that tradition for students, so we’re switching it up a little bit next year.”
A student-run event begun in 2007, Pantherfest is meant to introduce new students to campus and the greater Milwaukee area in order to feel more comfortable navigating the transition from high school to college, Grassl said.
“I am excited to see students all together celebrating,” said Rachael Schaser, the Campus Activity Board advisor. “Our concert is a shared experience that’s like no other, and you really see it come out when you’re at the concert.”
The spring Pantherfest concert will be open to all UWM students, including students who graduate in December 2021.
Free admission to Summerfest
Students will still be able to enjoy the concert experience at Fall Welcome 2021 with Summerfest’s Show Your College Pride Day, according to Alyssa Conrardy, UWM relations coordinator. From noon to 3 p.m. on Sept. 17, students can enter Summerfest for free upon showing UWM-branded apparel. (Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test result will be required for admission.)
Staff, faculty and students can also receive a free ticket for admission between noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 17 with an active UWM email. A UWM booth on the Summerfest grounds will help students show off their Panther pride.
Comedy show and Winter Welcome too
UWM’s big three community-building student traditions — Pantherfest, the Spring Comedy Show and Winter Welcome — will all be continued during the 2021-2022 academic year, but the order will be changed, Grassl said.
In the fall, the Campus Activity Board will throw the Welcome Back Block Party in place of Pantherfest activities, Schaser said. Students will be able to explore what Milwaukee has to offer by exploring booths offering food and activities.
Then the Campus Activities Board’s annual Spring Comedy Show will be held in February so the concert can happen during the final weeks of spring semester.