Foamy Freshmen Fun

Last Friday was overcast at UC Irvine. It could have been one of the coldest days since summer began, but that night Associated Students of UCI’s (ASUCI) outdoor foam party was on fire as soppy students, especially freshmen, danced and romped in the foam. The bass of the loud music could be heard from Middle Earth. Though the area next to Phoenix Grille began filling up at 8 p.m., the line became longer by 8:30, and the club eventually became packed through midnight when the party ended.
‘The turnout is crazy,’ said Rosanna Huang, vice president of student services for ASUCI and the organizer of the event. ‘The line just keeps forming. The place is packed; I’ve never been in such a spirited party before in my four years [at UCI].’
The foam party was introduced as an annual Welcome Week tradition five years ago. Meant to allow freshmen to become more comfortable with their campus, the foam party was attended by undergraduate and graduate students as well as non-UCI students.
‘It’s something different that we do that’s unique to UCI. I don’t think any other UC campus really does a foam party,’ Huang said.
The foam on the dance floor was held in by a plastic fence, and it cascaded from a machine at the front of the party.
Bystander Kevin Schmelzlen, a first-year political science major, is not a huge fan of dancing, but he said, ‘It seems like it would be fun for people who like to dance.’
‘It’s something different,’ said Stanley Ng, a first-year biomedical engineering major. ‘It’s like rolling in mud. It’s something you rarely do, but it’s fun. … It’s dirty, it’s filthy but it’s fun.’
Because many freshmen expected to be welcomed to campus by nothing more than books and lectures, many, like first-year undeclared student Alice Hong, were surprised to be welcomed with a foam party.
‘I know now that there’s going to be fun,’ Hong said. ‘It’s not just all study. There’s more stuff to do around here than to just go to the library and study all the time.’
In addition to welcoming freshmen to UCI, ASUCI’s foam party was intended to let newcomers know that college life should be more colorful than strictly studying in pursuit of a career. It allowed students ‘to know that college actually can be fun as well,’ Huang said.
‘Orange County, you think, would be really conservative. It seems like at least on campus it’s been really fun,’ said Schmelzlen.
ASUCI’s annual foam party is traditionally held at the Cross-Cultural Center loading dock. Due to construction, however, it was moved this year to its location by Phoenix Grille. Fortunately, there is drainage at the end of the hill into which the foam eventually glided. ASUCI members worked hard to sweep the massive amount of foam to the bottom of the hill.
ASUCI also worked all summer in an effort to organize an exciting Welcome Week for newcomers to UCI. Huang awoke Friday morning disappointed by the gray sky.
‘I was really bummed out because I was like, ‘What if it’s not successful?’ But … this class of freshmen is really amazing,’ Huang said. ‘They’re really spirited, they’re really outgoing. The ones I’ve come across just want to do everything. They’re really ambitious about things.’
‘There’s a lot of diversity,’ Ng said. ‘I know my time here is going to be fun.’