New students participate in traditional March Through the Arches ceremony

Freshmen, transfer students and international students gathered in front of the arches Tuesday morning before the annual March Through the Arches ceremony.

The blustery autumn weather made orientation leader Marlee Castillo wonder if attendance would be down.

“I thought less people were going to come, but now I’m not so sure,” Castillo said. “They’re coming, maybe a bit late, but they’re coming.”

After a brief welcome from St. Thomas administrators and USG President Dwight Anderson, new students marched through the arches. And instead of heading onto the lower quad as in years past, the students marched into the new Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. Dean of Students Karen Lange said having the Welcome Week activities in the new complex could possibly increase student participation in the events.

“For many of these students it’s the first time they’re going to see the new facilities,” Lange said. “People may have to picnic on the floor, but it’ll still be really exciting.”

Once inside the new facilities, students gathered for the Interfaith Blessing for the New School Year and the opening picnic. Anderson said he didn’t think the weather affected student participation.

“This is an important ritual for new students because they know that once you pass through those arches, you’re an official Tommie,” he said.

Kristi Battarbee can be reached at