by Nicole Allen, Staff Writer

Following their long and sunny Labor Day weekend, hundreds of University of West Florida students headed back to campus a few hours early to attend Argopalooza. 

Instead of sleeping off the excitement-induced exhaustion of their mini vacations or making the most of their last night of freedom before Tuesday classes, UWF students and a few intrigued parents made their way to the last signature event of Argo Arrival. Attendees of various backgrounds entered the UWF Field House in hopes to find their special place on campus.

The excitement over Argopalooza was made evident by the limited parking spaces within close walking distance to the event. As you entered the fieldhouse, the pounding music could be felt in your chest and smiles from hundreds of Argonauts provided a reassuring and enjoyable ambiance. 

“Anyone can find something here,” Abby Williamson, a freshman at UWF said Monday night.

After a quick look around, it was evident Williamson was not exaggerating her statement.

In addition to the numerous sororities and fraternities, there were booths set up for the Historical European Martial Arts Fencing Team, Gender and Sexuality Alliance, African-American Student Association, UWF College Republicans, Jewish Student Association, Argo Gaming Club, and dozens more. There was a booth in the facility that could accommodate every individual who walked through the doors.

“Everybody is walking up to everybody,” Sydney Grant, President of the African-American Student Association said, “and it just makes it a casual environment for people to walk up, tell them who you are and figure out what the organization is about.”

In addition to the benefit Argopalooza has on students, the event also has widespread and positive impacts on the various student organizations who take part in the event. 

Ilan Cosmas, President of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, said, “It’s been really good! I think [Argopalooza] gets our name out there so people can know we exist and are able to sign up and get notifications from us.”

Grant agreed, saying exposure is the principal benefit of Argopalooza, for students and organizations. She said many who are already involved in a UWF organization will come to the event and be astounded by the number of clubs they never knew were available.

Events like Argopalooza provide a tight-knit environment, important in UWF culture. This foundational aspect not only gives new UWF students an education, but a home away from home. 

“It’s neat to get to see the community aspect of it,” Zach Anderson, a UWF freshman said. “It can seem overwhelming at first. Seeing everyone out here and just how willing they are to welcome you in, take you under their wing, take your hand, pat your back and welcome you to the Argo family… that’s really cool.”

If you happened to miss Argopalooza, want to get involved and aren’t sure what clubs or organizations would be right for you, you can email Student Involvement at studentorgs@uwf.edu, call 850-474-3155 or stop by Building 22.