UNLV event offers food for the soul

Dancers in waiting.

Practice notes from a trumpet.

Red plastic tablecloths.

Styrofoam cups.

Canned heat.

Pretty girls, beefcake boys.

Sports schedules, fliers, T-shirts, mascots, pancakes, sliced fruit, syrup, sausage, chilled milk, cheerleaders, the fight song, volleyball players, dignitaries, public relations professionals, jocks, newbies, geeks, hotties, profs, guides, mom and dad.

Woo hoo!

Did we mention pancakes?

Welcome to UNLV’s meet and greet pancake breakfast, where hundreds of students packed the quad between the student union and the bookstore Friday to chill out and get a free breakfast.

“Hey you guys,” said a tall, slim volleyball player named Jessica Walters, plopping herself down at a table with three stunned students. “How’s it going today?”

She got mumbling. She pressed ahead. She got laughs. She moved on.

“We’re just trying to, you know, make the freshmen feel at home,” said Walters, 20, a junior and a journalism major from Oregon.

The point of the whole thing, which came a day after the university’s official orientation, was to make the new students feel at home.

To welcome them with UNLV’s version of shock and awe.

This included President David Ashley donning a red T-shirt and flipping flapjacks.

It included the marching band, standing in place and playing very loud.

It included the cheerleaders and the Rebel Girls — the dance team — joining pompoms in a show of school spirit.

It included the Rebels’ mascot, wreaking pretend havoc and shaking hands.

It included student president David Cronis, repeating rumors that this year’s freshman class is the smartest one ever.

It included the football team. The girls volleyball team. Golfers and basketball players and coaches and a churchgoing family from Henderson.

“UNLV Mom,” said the mom’s T-shirt.

They were the Glassford family, with mom Lesley, dad Brian and daughter Bethany, 18.

They sat in the middle of it all, taking it in.

Bethany was a star golfer at Henderson’s Coronado High School. She graduated this year. She said she chose UNLV after careful deliberations. She also got a scholarship offer from San Diego State University. Both schools have top-rated women’s golf programs.

She’ll live at home while going to school.

“Even though we’re from Vegas, this is our first chance to come to UNLV,” Lesley said.

She said it helped. It made them feel a part of what their daughter’s about to get into.

They finished their breakfast about an hour into the event. They headed through the thinning crowd and over to the bookstore.

Out in the quad, the president packed it in.

The band wandered off.

The jocks hit the road.

The cheerleaders scattered, the dancers hit the food court.

And the cleanup began. After all, 27,000 students are going to hit campus Monday morning.

Contact reporter Richard Lake at rlake@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0307.

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