It’s the same concept — bringing the Salus community together to enjoy each other’s company — but it has a different name and it is in a different season this year.
The Dean’s Winterfest, which has been on hiatus since the pandemic started, was changed to the Dean’s Springfest for 2022, but accomplished the same goal as always: spending time together face-to-face.
“We toyed with the idea of not having the event once again this year because of it being a Winterfest theme and winter was over,” said James Caldwell, OD ‘89, Resident ‘91
, dean of Student Affairs. “But the students were pretty persistent. They expressed that they really needed to be together as a group and to do something that was across Colleges and programs.”
Held April 14 in the Hafter Student Community Center
gymnasium, the event featured raffle drawings, contests to guess how many candy pieces were in a jar, popping balloons with darts and a “Sweet Candyland” photo area where students could have pictures taken. And, lots of carnival-themed food.
“I just came from clinic, so I’m looking forward to some food,” said Viral Shah ‘24OD
. “With it now being called Springfest, we’re getting our seasons in order. I know some people are being cautious, as they should be, but it’s great to be face-to-face. The University tries to do something like this every semester, and that’s nice.”
First-year student Alicia McWeeney ‘25AUD
, who was attending her inaugural Springfest, agreed. “I’ve been meeting people from different programs and getting to talk with my classmates not in a classroom setting,” she said. “I’ve also been able to meet more faculty members, and I met Dr. Mittelman (Salus president Michael H. Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE
) and talked with him for a little while.”
Isabella Lor ‘24OD
was also attending her first Springfest and having some fun away from her studies.
“I love all the games like the balloon popping and all of the food,” she said. “It’s important for us to get together face-to-face. I’ve never seen a lot of the students here and it’s like we are a real community now.”
Normally held in January, Winterfest, according to Dr. Caldwell, was intended to bring the Salus community together after the holidays during the cold, dark part of the winter season. But for the past few years, the pandemic has had other ideas. Rather than going another year without the event, students changed the name to Springfest and moved forward.
“We were persistent. Everybody wanted to have the event,” said Dr. Caldwell. “Hopefully everybody enjoyed it as much as they enjoyed Winterfest in prior years.”