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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Opinion: A dismal Howdy Half-Week

The+crowd+at+GatheRing+and+Yell+Practice+inside+the+Clayton+W.+Williams%2C+Jr.+Alumni+Center+on+Tuesday%2C+Aug.+23%2C+2022.
Photo by Luca Yaquinto

The crowd at GatheRing and Yell Practice inside the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022.

This year’s Howdy Week did not live up to its name.
No, what we had was more of a Howdy Half-Week. A Howdy Long Weekend. The titular “week” seems to have been forgotten.
Howdy Week 2022 only stretched from August 20–23. On its website, Texas A&M claims the abbreviated itinerary is “due to the residence hall move-in schedule and the academic calendar.” One major change to the latter causing this abridgement is the addition of a fall break in October.
Usually, these kinds of changes are due to university leadership’s hasty decisions. Surprisingly, that’s not the case here. The original request for the introduction of a fall break came from student leadership — namely, the 2019 Student Senate and Student Body President, Mikey Jaillet.
Their proposal, entitled “Implementation of a Fall Break Bill,” points out that nine of A&M’s 14 peer universities in the Southeastern Conference have a fall break in their calendar. According to the bill, introducing such a break would “give students the ability to rest and focus on their mental health after recent midterms.”
While it’s true that we didn’t have any time off before this act was passed, it leaves the question as to whether student leadership expected Howdy Week to be shortened as a result.
The bill suggested the new break to “be scheduled in the month of October in alignment with local school districts [sic] holidays.” This request was honored, though I will say it’s awfully convenient that our brand-new break falls on the same weekend as this year’s out-of-state ‘Bama game. That extra couple of days makes it a lot easier to fly down to Tuscaloosa, Ala., and back before class starts, doesn’t it?
Regardless, the bill was passed and, as a result, Howdy Week was shortened.
This new Howdy Half-Week has no apparent positives.
Because of the abbreviated timeline, much fewer events were scheduled than in past Howdy Weeks. Activities that were lucky enough to make it on the roster were double-booked and overlapping, making it difficult for students to attend all the events they’re interested in.
For example, Freudian Slip’s kickoff show was scheduled at the same time as Antioch Worship Night, Fajitas and Fellowship and the Ballroom Social. In a standard Howdy Week, these events would have been spread out to allow more people to attend.
Predictably, students, like business administration freshman Camille Couch, are unsatisfied with this shortened agenda.
“I would have loved to have a whole week,” Couch said. “I felt like it was very condensed to have only two or three days.”
Engineering sophomore Hunter Cassidy also took notice of the shortened welcome.
“I remember my Howdy Week,” Cassidy said. “It was the full five days and I was able to go around campus and find [my classes], see other groups and actually learn things about A&M. Only having a few days is definitely not enough.”
This is, again, one of the principle functions of Howdy Week. According to A&M’s website, it’s meant to be “Aggieland’s official Week of Welcome.”
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t feel very welcomed in only three days.
Not only is Howdy Week meant to greet and receive new and returning students, it also serves as a damper between freshmen’s move-in and first day of classes. It’s an acclimation period — by the end of the week, they have become familiar with campus, made a few friends and hopefully cast off the pangs of homesickness and anxiety surrounding their budding college tenure.
Now, freshmen who moved in later or took time to warm up to College Station are at a severe disadvantage trying to achieve all of these goals while also working around classes.
This isn’t just unfair to students trying to get the most out of their first week, it also hurts A&M’s organizations. Howdy Week is prime recruitment time for these clubs. Between the multitude of competing events and the short timeline, organizations are having trouble enlisting new members.
“I definitely think [the shorter Howdy Week] will negatively affect recruiting, just because you don’t have much time,” Student Bonfire chief and biology sophomore Austin Madsen said. “We only have two days to recruit. You have to really push everything … It really hurts recruitment, but it really hurts the [freshmen] as well. They don’t get that full experience. They don’t get to know A&M before classes start.”
Three days is simply not enough.
The sad part is, there are many alternatives to the path the university has taken.
Move-in could have shifted back a few days, or even a full week if A&M was intent on having it occur over a weekend.
Classes could have ended a few days later, or even started a few days earlier if move-in was shifted back a whole week.
The only breaks added were fall break — two days — and Labor Day. Three extra days of breaks do not necessitate classes starting almost an entire week earlier than last year.
These new breaks are nice, but if they come at the expense of Howdy Week, it’s not worth it.
Charis Adkins is an English sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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