Not even a dust storm slowed down the exhilaration of Welcome Week

Lope Shop staff dance in the back storeroom to the song “Cotton Eye Joe” as a tradition to get pumped up for the start of their shift before major events, including Welcome Week.

It was a Welcome Week for the record books, though technically, Welcome Week events span through the middle of next week and will include the Ultimate LopeVenture on Saturday, a Jordy Searcy concert on Labor Day and Ignite on Tuesday.

The week saw relentless 110-plus-degree temperatures – and an unexpected Thursday night dust storm that caused the early shut-down of Canyon Cool Down. But nothing could slow down the machine that is Welcome Week.

Two new apartment buildings (Santa Cruz and Copper on the east side of campus) and eateries (Havoc House, Jimmy John's and Cañón 49), an enthusiastic Welcome Session speech by President Brian Mueller and long lines at Silent Disco created a buzz throughout campus.

Here is a sampling of the sights and sounds of Welcome Week:

Monday

5:32 a.m. – The sun has yet to rise as “I Got a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas blares from a speaker in front of an empty Prescott Field, 28 minutes before the start of the first move-in day for students.

Parents help their children move into their student residences during Welcome Week.

5:40 a.m. – With no foot or car traffic, a member of the Thundering Heard Pep Band, dressed in purple-and-white-striped overalls, rides his skateboard past the Student Union.

6:05 a.m. – Six vehicles are lined up outside the new Copper Apartments, where three families are in the process of delivering goods to their children’s units.

6:15 a.m.: A family pulls up in a truck to Willow Hall at The Grove and parks for their designated move-in time, donning “Ivy’s Moving Crew” T-shirts.

6:30 a.m.: AZ Family reporter Gibby Parra didn't hold back on his excitement about Welcome Week as he did a live hit from The Grove during an interview with ASGCU president Jagaar Halverson: "The Lopes are about to tear this up! Let's go Jagaar, let's go!"

7 a.m. – Bob Seger’s “Hollywood Nights” carries through a speaker as two students guide drivers where to park and unload goods in front of Santa Cruz Apartments, another first-year building.

Members of ASGCU hand out stickers and other goodies as they drive around campus in a golf cart during Welcome Week Move-In.

7:07 a.m. – The air is hot and heavy, but a student seems immune to the elements as she puts a crock pot in her moving bin that scoots from a car to a Santa Cruz elevator.

7:15 a.m.: One family was on-trend when it came to packing their items for Move-In, carefully having Saran Wrapped a student’s closet shoe shelves, with shoes inside, for an easier Move-In via life hack.

8:20 a.m. – The line at GCBC swells suddenly from two to six people. It is still summer break for an uncooperative credit card machine.

12:23 p.m. – It is peak time at the Lope Shop. During the noon-to-2 p.m. window Monday, the Lope Shop sold about 1,000 items that generated $22,318 in revenue – more than double what the retailer produced in the store’s first four hours.

Angel Sanchez of Washington waits in the Lope Shop check-out line on Monday with items for himself and his daughter, an incoming freshman. The busiest time of the day for the Lope Shop during Welcome Week was noon-2 p.m. each day.

1:33 p.m. – Andy Dunn, Lope Shop director of campus retail and licensing, collects “sizers,” a small, circular gadget indicating the size of a shirt. The sizers are scattered under various clothing racks throughout the store.

1:41 p.m. – A Lope Shop worker replenishes inventory by hanging several Nike products. The hot weather plays no factor, as nearly one dozen long-sleeve shirts are restocked.

2:04 p.m. – A visitor, seemingly unaware that he's in Lopes country, walks into the Lope Shop wearing a Michigan State T-shirt.

3:36 p.m. – Mueller walks toward the GCU Arena stage before stopping to chat with a parent for eight minutes before his rousing Welcome Session talk.

3:48 p.m. – The Thundering Heard Pep Band, the Havocs, Cheer, Dance and Thunder lead first-year students and parents in “Let’s Go Lopes.”

3:58 p.m. – Welcome Session starts two minutes early.

GCU President Brian Mueller addresses new students and family members during the Welcome Session in GCU Arena.

Tuesday

11 a.m. - Tables and tents are set up for 33 groups along the Student Union and College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building for clubs and other groups to recruit students or pitch their products.

11:34 a.m. – Mueller walks by the GCU Global Outreach tent and receives applause and cheers from members. “Woo, Brian!” one student yells to Mueller, who waves and acknowledges the Havocs before walking into the Student Life Building.

1:28 p.m. – The afternoon floor crew at the Lope Shop prepares for its shift by dancing to “Cotton Eye Joe,” a tradition started by Visual Merchandise Manager Briana Gonzales.

2:10 p.m.: A customer at the Lope Shop looks intrigued by a new sticker: “GCU No Fork Zone.”

A GCU window sticker at the Lope Shop with a reference to ASU. Aug. 30, 2023.

2:20 p.m.: Dunn dons a different shirt every day at the Lope Shop. This time he's sporting a GCU purple Hawaiian shirt. “Hoodies are blowing up!” he said of the big hoodie and sweatshirt sales to parents heading back to Minnesota or Iowa or other states with cooler fall and winter weather.

2:30 p.m.: Hannah Torrez serves Kona Ice shaved ice treats to customers seeking relief from the heat, which peaked at 115 degrees around 2 p.m. Torrez, a senior business management major, operates that particular Kona Ice truck. The best-selling flavors? Blue raspberry and Tiger’s Blood, she said. Look for Torrez at GCU soccer games and check her out on Instagram at konaice_grandview.

Students and parents stop by the Kona Ice truck to grab a cool treat to beat the heat during Welcome Week.

2:45 p.m.: The big news during Welcome Week? The weather! Monday saw a high of 117 degrees and Tuesday a high of 116 degrees. To stave off the heat, Copper State Credit Union, GCU’s official financial partner, hosted the Lopes Checking Lounge on the first floor of the Natural Sciences Building, where parents and students could drop in for a snack. Gummy Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, gummy bears and a spicy trail mix were on tap, as well as beverages.

Wednesday

11 a.m. – The Thundering Heard Pep Band and Cheer made their annual Welcome Week visit to Mueller’s office. Each band member and cheerleader is asked to introduce themselves to Mueller, who lends support with some humorous comments.

President Brian Mueller faces off with Thunder during a rally by Spirit Programs at his office on Wednesday. The Thundering Heard Pep Band, Dance and Cheer added a little zest to the morning.

1 p.m. – With light foot traffic thanks to triple-digit temperatures during lunch, a parent finds a parking spot in front of Camelback Hall and carefully unloads a four-foot refrigerator from the back of his pickup truck for his daughter.

1:13 p.m. – The lack of foot traffic also enables three students to chat for at least five minutes in front of a large misting fan on the corner of the Student Life Building.

6:30 p.m. – Lines to enter GCU Arena for Silent Disco extended to the end of the Engineering Building.

7:15 p.m. – GCU's Hawaii community begins singing "E Hawai'i e ku'u one kanuau e," which translates to "O Hawaii, O sands of my birth" from the song "Hawaii Aloha." The tune expresses love for islands, as university admissions counselors, students and their families and friends held a candlelight vigil to honor those affected by the Maui wildfires.

Freshman Ellie Parcher seeks relief from the heat in front of a large mister fan near the Student Union. Many cooling stations were set up around campus to battle the heat during Welcome Week.

Thursday

1:05 p.m. – Welcome Week enters its latter stages, and two sets of parents posed for photographs with their sons in front of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building and the Kona Ice truck before heading to the 33rd Avenue garage.

1:24 p.m. – A senior in the College of Arts and Media asks for smoky barbecue, chipotle and sriracha sauces on his turkey wrap at Subway, which makes the wrap appear like an EKG reading for a heart patient.

1:36 p.m. – Trucks and SUVs have filled most of the parking spaces earmarked for unloading clothes and materials for on-campus students, but a red BMW scoots through Lopes Way without any distractions.

Members of the Epic Party Team try to untangle one of the inflatable water slides that blew over during Thursday night's dust storm that prompted the early end of Canyon Cool Down.

8 p.m. – The Canyon Activities Board's Canyon Cool Down came as a welcome escape from the relentless Welcome Week heat at The Grove fields.

9 p.m. – An unexpected weather event, a haboob that knocked down inflatable water slides and power for a time, ended Canyon Cool Down a little early.

Friday

7:15 a.m.. – The newly opened Havoc House got a little love from FOX10 when reporter Tom Fergus stopped by to investigate the eatery's purple Bubble Waffle and Donut Burger and talk about the broadcast partnership with GCU for upcoming games.

***

Related content:

GCU News: Welcome Week is social, the eye-to-eye kind

GCU News: GCU's Hawaii community honors Maui at vigil

GCU News: Lope Shop adjusts to new logo, greater demands for Welcome Week

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