The clear, bright sky and bountiful sunshine that accompanied Friday, Sept. 30 foreshadowed yet another great day at UCR. People were smiling all around, the amount of heat was just enough to warm a cold soul and, most exciting of all, the annual Highlander Poolooza was planned for 2 p.m at the Student Recreation Center pool.
This marked the second year that ASPB held the Highlander Poolooza. According to ASPB Chairperson Geovanny Perez, it was provided last year with the intention to “introduce the SRC pool and promote our renovated SRC to all the first years during the first weeks of school. With last year’s success, we decided to bring the event back … again.”
As Perez explained, the Highlander Poolooza is a special collaboration between the SRC and ASPB, and to be noted from this team effort is Frances Marie Caron, Director of Aquatics at the SRC, who greatly helped with the set-up and catering of the event.
Before the event even started, the eagerness to get in was apparent. A line of keen students stretched all the way from the desk set up near the entrance of the pool, down the stairs and to the Student Recreation Center parking lot. Since the event didn’t start at the planned time of 2 p.m., many anxious people were looking down at their phones continuously to check the time, which ramped up the excitement for the celebration even more.
Finally, the gates opened and the rush of pumped up students swarmed in, most of them immediately heading to the Carl’s Jr. truck and Front Porch popsicle stand. The ice cream popsicles came in a delightfully wide range of high-quality flavors, from orange creamsicle to Vietnamese coffee to cookies n’ cream, which immediately bumped the status of the event up from a typical backyard pool party to a fully coordinated, well-funded student event.
In the beginning, many event-goers stood around the perimeter of the pool licking their popsicles and joyfully conversing with their friends. However, not many people, with the exception of three or four bold souls, were brave enough to wade into the temptingly cool pool.
It wasn’t until a few jokesters began entering the inflatable hamster balls when people began to gather the courage to jump in. As second-year, bioengineering major Ben Pham worded it, “People were going ham at the hamster ball.”
Soon after, students clad in swimsuits merrily stepped and cannonballed into the cerulean blue pool, while others were not so lucky and made it into the pool after being forcefully pushed in by their friends.
But even the pushing and playful escapades were all in the name of the fun; people were making friends from left to right and having a good time, whether it be at the pool or at one of the numerous other activity stations that the outdoor pool area had to offer.
At the volleyball court, an intense game was being played by students in bikinis and swim shorts while the pool quickly began to fill up with enthusiastic attendees. Cute swan and dinosaur floaties carried content party-goers around the pool and current-powered loop surrounding the jacuzzi, where some relaxed students closed their eyes and rotated around the loop over and over.
Away from the great exhilaration and excitement, ASPB had a giveaway station in which students could spin a wheel and earn a prize. There was also a metallic tattoo stand for people to design themselves with jewelry-like designs and geometric shapes. To serve as an invigorating backdrop to all of this, a few DJ’s from UCR Recreation were playing both modern hits, like Drake’s “One Dance,” and throwbacks specifically tailored to millennials, namely the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. Numerous people sang along and united by doing dances like the stanky leg and whip.
Although some school-sponsored events are considered to be lame or low-energy, the Poolooza was certainly not one of them. There was something available for everyone and laughs and amusement were present all around, with not one bored or lonely body to be seen.
It was the perfect back-to-school festivity to conclude the end of the hectic week one. Second-year, pre-business major Bruce Kim agrees, saying, “To me, the first week is the hardest because I work at the School of Business Administration office and there’s always students coming in and (there’s) a lot of class … so with events like these you can just come and relax. It’s a nice way to meet new friends and old friends.”
If the Highlander Poolooza is not on your calendar for next year and the years to come, it definitely should be. After all, it means something if the students went there to have fun, not just to eat the free food.