During the summer, the University of Connecticut’s population dips far below capacity. There’s no rush of students moving together from class to class, no fights for a seat on the bus, no need to mark your territory in the library with a sweatshirt or a water bottle when you use the restroom. But that doesn’t mean campus is totally deserted.
One dining hall stays open, Peter J. Werth Tower hosts summer students and the Union stays open with reduced hours. Students on campus for summer classes, jobs and research still need somewhere to live, eat and spend time. Not to mention, they need entertainment. That’s where Summer Activities comes in.
Providing services similar to that of SUBOG (Student Union Board of Governors), Summer Activities hosts a number of events throughout the summer to engage summer students and community members alike.
“Just having little things for students to do or little giveaways for them is sort of, in my opinion, unexpected,” Alexandra Mastorakis, student supervisor for Summer Activities, said.
Some of the programming is consistent, like Tons of Fun Tuesdays, Relax and Reset Wednesdays and Thursdays in the Halls which are held weekly.
Tons of Fun Tuesday is perhaps their most popular event, as a kind of One Ton Sundae spinoff. UConn students can pay $1 for a bucket to fill with ice cream and toppings, although it’s not Dairy Bar brand. Since UConn also hosts a number of faculty, staff, middle school soccer campers, tour groups, visiting high schoolers and more during the summer, anybody else can pay $3 for a bucket. The ice cream extravaganza is always accompanied by another fun activity for students, such as customizable phone wallets or DIY cactus plants.
“I was on my way to do something else and my lab mate and I saw there was ice cream,” Roman Mays, an electrical engineering graduate student, said.
Relax and Reset Wednesdays give students a chance to destress with a variety of activities like string art or free massages.
“I was scrolling through insta and saw 10 minute massages,” Allison Zupan, fifth-semester chemistry student, said. “I thought I could use one of those.”
Seventh-semester elementary education major Sarah Anderson works as a student employee for Summer Activities. Her personal favorite Relax and Reset event is the popular “car smash.”
“We partner with TMV motors and they drop off a car that is on its way to a junkyard,” Anderson said. “They remove all of the glass and fluids, they drop it off on a big tarp for us, we give students hard hats, safety goggles and a sledgehammer and they just break the car.”
On Thursdays, events are held in residence halls, typically in Peter J. Werth Tower where most summer students are housed. These might be things like a video game tournament or an outdoor barbeque.
Summer Activities tailors the different events for different audiences. While Tons of Fun Tuesdays are open to anybody on campus, Relax and Reset Wednesdays are just for students and Thursdays in the Halls are exclusively for residential summer students.
In addition to these cyclical events, Summer Activities hosts travel trips as well. One trip took students to New York City to see “Waitress” on Broadway while another bussed students to Six Flags.
“During the school year I know that a lot of any programming is based off students surveys and what students tell programmers they want,” Mastorakis said. “For summer activities specifically it’s a lot of things that we’ve done in the past that we know work.”
All photos provided by Student Summer Activities
Alex Houdeshell is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.