A newspaper for ECU faculty and staff
Pieces of Eight

polar bear jump
ECU students take the Polar Bear Plunge into the Student Recreation Center outdoor pool during the annual event Jan. 22. With temperatures in the 30s and snow still on the ground from a winter storm two days before, more than 600 jumpers dived into the icy water. The first 500 participants received free t-shirts. An increasingly popular campus tradition, the Polar Bear Plunge was begun in 1997 with only 35 jumpers participating. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

‘Weeks of Welcome Back’ Jumpstarts Semester

East Carolina University’s Weeks of Welcome Back program greeted new and returning students arriving on campus for the spring semester with a flurry of activities designed to engage and acclimate them. Events began with new student orientation Jan. 7 and ran through Jan. 28.

Students enjoyed ECU Stars, a campus version of “American Idol” with monetary prizes awarded to first, second and third place winners. The top two winners were invited to perform at ECU basketball games on Jan. 24 and Jan. 28.

Additional events included the 13th Annual Polar Bear Plunge, where hundreds of students took an icy plunge in the outdoor pool at the Student Recreation Center; Premium Night at Todd and West End Dining Halls; Get a Clue Again, a student organization fair; and academic skills workshops and free tutoring offered by the Pirate Tutoring Center.

Pirates seeking employment were invited to ECU’s Virtual Job Fair, Jan. 9 – 22. In the virtual fair, students could search for on- and off-campus jobs using the Career Connections online jobs database. Random Acts of Welcome included free food, hot chocolate and coffee for students headed to early morning classes. Additional give-aways included free movies, tee shirts, popcorn, bowling, billiards and other munchies.

The Weeks of Welcome Back program is supported by ARAMARK Campus Living and Dining, Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, the Office of Co-Curricular Programs, the Pirate Tutoring Center, the Student Employment Office, the Student Organization Center and the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center.

For additional information about the Weeks of Welcome program, visit

This page originally appeared in the Jan. 30, 2009 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at