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Friday, September 29, 2023


Event welcomes students

Students on campus today will be greeted with the annual Cat’s Back, a two-week event aimed at welcoming incoming and returning students.

"We try to make it a non-academic, fun event," Director of the University Center and Associated Facilities Keith Kowalka said. "It is something fun to do before they (students) have to study."

Started in 2003, Cat’s Back offers activities around different campus locations.

"It is not as elaborate as Frontier Fiesta or as expensive, but we try to get students excited about school with entertainment, free food and free stuff," Associate Director of Residential Life and Housing Sandy Coltharp said.

This year’s theme is Cat’s Back Plug In, and it will be held at the UC Arbor.

The prizes given away have been a problem in the past because organizers have not been able to locate students upon winning, who attend for a while and then go to class.

"I do remember that they had prizes but people were not there to receive it probably because they had class," business and marketing alumnus Jacob Jee said. "They should have had a way to reach students in that case."

Although fewer items will be given away, the raffles will offer $100 gift certificates and iPhones for students as a way to make up the lack of prizes.

Prior to Cat’s Back, several UH organizations hosted separate welcoming events. The Cougar Craze and Cougar Roar were two welcoming events that had a poor turn outs, Kowalka said, adding that about 40 students attended.

In 2003, several organizations, such as the Residence Hall Association and Student Publications, among others, pooled their resources and collaborated on the event now known as Cat’s Back.

The collaboration and coordination of funds and resources allowed for a larger event, which offers students a wide variety of entertainment, food and free gifts.

Since its inception, Cat’s Back has held a steady attendance ranging between 2,000 to 3,000 students a year, Kowalka said.

Despite the rise in attendance from welcoming events in the past, some students are still not aware of the event.

"I went there for the events. I like their themes," Jee said. "I just stumbled across it because no one really explained what it was."

For a full schedule of events, visit

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