December 8, 2023

California Baptist University students clad in their semi-formal attire attended WooFest in the Events Center on March 6. This year’s event is the first time the annual event has returned since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Orleans-themed event featured performances by male students, including singing, dancing, spoken word and magic. To close the evening, the male resident advisers from across campus came together to do a final dance performance for the audience.

Elijah Hickman | CBU Banner

“WooFest is an event that CBU has put on for many years,” said Brianna Collingwood, residence director (RD) of the Cottages. “It’s a traditional event that happens annually. Obviously, we had to pivot because of COVID the last two years, but essentially it’s a variety show where guys come to ‘woo’ the ladies. Really it is just a fun night to have students dress up and come enjoy.”

WooFest began in 2010 as an event in UP Men. It then expanded, taking place annually until 2015 in the Van Dyne Gym. Beginning in 2016, students attended WooFest at the Fox Theater in Riverside. However, for the first time, the event occurred on campus in the Events Center to accommodate a larger audience and make it more accessible to students.

“It is super exciting to utilize the Events Center to serve our students on campus,” Collingwood said. “In past years, we’ve done it at the Fox Theater, which we’ve outgrown and we are really passionate about including all students and we don’t want to feel like we have to turn people away. We have an amazing space here, and it has been an amazing opportunity getting to partner with the Events Center.”

In addition, the event was open to all traditional undergraduate students this year rather than only residential students.

“Coming off of a year where there has been a lot of isolation and no events, I think getting the opportunity to build community among all students is something that sets this year apart,” Collingwood said.

Collingwood said RezLife began planning the event in September. The RDs and residence advisers (RAs) participated in the preparation, and RezLife partnered with multiple departments across campus including ASCBU, Community Life and Conferences and Events to bring the event to life.

“It was cool to see the RAs put in a lot of effort to make this an amazing show,” said Steve Jussenhoven, RD of UP Men. “They put a lot of work into the decorations and the little details we hope residents appreciate.”

Amanda Salas, sophomore graphic design major, attended WooFest for the first time this year. She said she enjoyed the community-building aspect of the event, especially for students who feel less connected to the school because of COVID.

“I think it is fun,” Salas said. “It definitely makes me feel a little more involved on campus. Especially since COVID, we haven’t really had that much opportunity (to get involved). ”

Collingwood said she has enjoyed reintroducing a CBU tradition to a new wave of students after two years since the last WooFest.

“It has been cool to bring back the excitement and what WooFest is,” Collingwood said. “It has been a cool experience bringing something back to life.”

Jussenhoven said he hopes students enjoyed the event and the aspects that made this year’s WooFest unique.

“It really is just a special event for people to come and  have a great time with their friends.” 

to watch some really cool shows and really cool acts and a lot of great talent. Hopefully it is a night that everyone is going to remember. intern, emphasized the fun sense of community the event brings.

“What’s special about Open Mic is that it’s a place where students can show off their talent that they might not otherwise have a platform to do so on campus,” Sharp said. “It’s a way to build a community of support and unity.”

Azam Sebastian, year and major? graduate student, entertained the audience with his light-hearted stand-up comedy at Open Mic Night.

“Growing up in India, I didn’t perform,” Sebastian said. “But it was fun. I wanted to do this and I just wanted to put a smile on people’s faces and allow them to have a good time. It doesn’t matter if they make fun of you or not. Even if people laugh, they’re smiling and that’s all that matters.”

Tim Craig, Noah Fickel and Aaron Carillo i need years and majors here have performed at Open Mic in the past and enjoy making music together. They played “Edge of Desire” by John Mayer at this semester’s Open Mic Night. Craig sang and played guitar, Fickel played electric guitar and Carillo played the drum pad. They are also involved in the Purpose Worship Team at CBU and are in the process of planning their own worship night event. They have performed together before, but this experience was different for them due to the closeness of their audience and the environment.

“It was a fun experience and I’m glad we did it,” Craig said.

Maxine Auer and Alyssa Humphreys, Community Life interns years and majors?, were the planners and hosts for this event. Auer explained that she participated in this event during the previous semester’s Open Mic Night. She also explained that this event fell on St. Patrick’s Day due to the numerous other scheduled events that were happening throughout the semester.

“(St. Patrick’s Day) ended up becoming a fun aspect of the night that we got to play into with the theme,” Auer said.

This event is so loved by students that the possibility of doubling Open Mic Nights for each semester is currently being considered by CBU’S Community Life staff.

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