Cat’s Back attendees compete in a sumo circle. | Joshua Mann/The Daily Cougar
Approximately 6,000 students, staff and faculty flocked to the Campus Wellness and Recreation Center at 4 p.m. Wednesday for the 10th annual Cat’s Back.
Serving as the official kick-off for UH’s Weeks of Welcome, The Cat’s Back celebrated the start of the semester with an afternoon jam-packed with activities including bongo lessons, giant Jenga games and bouncy houses.
With free catering by UH Dining Services and musical entertainment by Hot 95.7, students walked the length of the recreation center, socializing and gathering information from representatives of more than 100 student organizations during the event’s Organization Fair.
“The Cat’s Back helps people that are not already connected to any student organizations, especially freshmen, and offers them an opportunity to meet a variety of organizations and get involved,” said Keith Kowalka, assistant vice president for Student Affairs-Student Life.
“According to an online poll, students that are involved have higher GPAs. Fifty percent are more likely to come back after year one, and students involved are 10 times more like to graduate in a period of five years.”
Computer engineering freshman Drew Feille was eager to take part.
“I’m really hoping to find an organization that fits with my interests,” Feille said.
In earlier years, the University Center hosted The Cat’s Back, but the New UC construction project has taken over the arbor, and UH officials have decided to move the event to the recreation center for the next two years.
“Despite the change of venue, I was pleasantly surprised to see the attendance at the level it is this year,” said Interfraternity Council Executive Officer Zachary Irons.
Kowalka said he was excited to be able to show off the recreation center to the new freshmen.
At 6:30 p.m., the organization fair came to a close as the marching band, cheerleaders and Cougar Dolls welcomed SGA President Cedric Bandoh, who introduce the event’s special guest.
UH President and Chancellor Renu Khator took the stage to address the crowd and boost morale about the upcoming football season.
“The purpose is not to win,” Khator said, “but to demolish Texas State.”
She then introduced Athletics Director Mack Rhoades and this fall’s UH football team, and ended the evening on a positive note.
“There is no other university as special as the University of Houston,” Khator said.