D’Andre Wakefield pours neon paint into the lid of trash can, while the next wave of students await their turn in Splatterbeat.
Splatterbeat was a University of Houston-Victoria Welcome Week activity during the last week of August, where students were able to let off steam while splashing neon paint to the rhythm of music in the middle of an open field tucked behind the Jaguar Courts residence hall.
Such an activity, although peculiar, is an essential part of the UHV experience that attracts students, said Wakefield, a 5th-year senior majoring in criminal justice.
“This is a good way for people to feel welcome while living away from home,” Wakefield, 22, said. “Being able to interact here at the start of the semester helps and is a really big step.”
Alexis Wallace, a business major from Austin, said the university is a good school, “especially if you’re involved.”
Wallace, 20, is an active member of several student organizations, including the Jaguar Activities Board.
She was at a greeting table, handing out shirts with Madeline Colunga, a junior and president of the activities board.
“This event is important because it shows that we have more to offer than what incoming students may think,” Colunga, 20, said. “Since I came here, I have found a close community, which is what I was looking for in a university.”
Since expanding into a four-year campus in 2010, eight years later the university has gotten closer to its 6,000 student enrollment target.
The final count for the university’s 2017 fall semester was 4,351.
Wakefield said he struggled to feel connected after transferring from another school in San Antonio until he met Michael Wilkinson, UHV senior director of Student Services and Judicial Affairs, while playing basketball.
“He asked me a few questions, picked my brain and offered an opportunity to become a student director,” Wakefield said. “That pretty much changed my life and has helped me with my leadership skills.”