Guster, Mraz headline Welcome Week

“We just got our parents to take us to Ikea, we haven’t gained the freshman 15 and we haven’t established ourselves as sluts yet – female and male – these are happy days,” proclaimed rock band Guster’s lead singer Ryan Miller at Monday night’s Welcome Week concert. The show, also featuring a performance by newcomer Jason Mraz, marked the end of summer and was the most popular Welcome Week 2003 event.

The three-hour concert drew a crowd of just more than 3,000 students, packing the floor and the bleachers of the Smith Center. The concert did not sell out, but the majority of the arena was full of concertgoers.

Mraz, who opened the show with his Bohemian folk style music, strolled up to the microphone without a care – or shoes. The Mechanicsville, Va. native, who took photographs of his band and threw them to the audience throughout the performance, said he felt right at home at GW.

“I grew up not far from these parts so its kind of cool to be back in the area,” Mraz said.

While some visibly bored students fumbled with their cell phones during the show, the audience exploded with cheers and applause when Mraz played hits “The Remedy,” “I’ll Do Anything” and a cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.”

Students said they enjoyed Mraz’s combination of jazz and folk music and his sense of humor, but enjoyed the singer’s most popular song – “The Remedy” – best.

” I only came to see Jason Mraz and his one hit song,” sophomore Sarah Loevson said.

Guster took the stage immediately following Mraz, with songs such as “Two Points for Honesty” and “Barrel of a Gun.” The floor came alive with students screaming, cheering and jumping with the music, especially for the older songs.

“The energy in this place is contagious,” Miller said to the audience.

Several members of the audience said they enjoyed the artists’ enthusiasm.

“Guster is one of my all time favorite bands and I wouldn’t miss a show in a three state radius,” junior Stephanie Eikamp said.

Although many students were die-hard fans, several students, such as sophomore Estefania Montoya, said they mostly came to meet up with friends after a long summer away.

The concert fell in the middle of the Student Activities Center’s Welcome Week, a series of events that began last Thursday and will last until this Thursday. Martine Philogene, SAC coordinator for student involvement, said about 6,800 students participated in the week’s events, roughly the same number as last year.

“Everything’s been pretty popular,” Philogene said. “We haven’t had any event where there was a low turnout.”

A new event – the Welcome to the Family Community Celebration Barbecue – drew in a crowd of more than 1,000 students Saturday in Kogan Plaza, Philogene said. Sponsored by the Multicultural Student Services Center, Office of Community Service and Office of Greek Affairs, the event featured a short step show, cultural music played by a DJ and several booths.

Although the Movie on the Quad – The Matrix: Reloaded – was relocated to the Smith Center because of soggy grounds, 400 students still showed up, Philogene said.

Other events throughout the week included a kickoff Freshman Convocation – where University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg spoke – a Freshman Passport event, a night at the Hard Rock Cafe and an XBOX Tournament.

Welcome Week 2003 will continue into the week on Wednesday with comic hypnotist, Tom Deluca, who performed at GW last year. On Thursday, the Second City, an improvisational comedy group, will perform in Lisner Auditorium, for the first time at GW.

All events for Welcome Week were chosen to “bring something new and exciting to the GW community and to create an environment where students enjoy being a part of GW,” Philogene said.

-Julie Gordon contributed to this report.

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