Students unwind at Valleypalooza

Sophomore Felipe Silva an international student from Brazil attempts to knock down the pinata at Valleypalooza Cinco De Mayo edition on Tuesday May 5, 2015. ASHLEY COOPER/HERALD


The conclusion of a semester at WKU signifies a number of things. Final exams, papers, and the inevitable stress that accompanies them. However, the annual Valleypalooza event encourages students to take a break from the stress, even if it’s just for a little while. 

“I think it’s a good stress reliever,” Minnette Ellis, the event’s coordinator, said. “It also helps reaffirm the community before the students leave for the semester. It’s an opportunity for students to get together in the middle of the day and have fun.”

This year marked the 22nd year of Valleypalooza on WKU’s campus. It’s located in the Valley, the lawn between Gilbert, McCormack and Rodes-Harlin halls.

“It’s a big traditional program within the department,” Ellis said.

The event lasted from 1 to 5 p.m. and students came and went as they pleased throughout the afternoon.

Scattered across the lawn were a variety of activities that included inflatables, volleyball, craft tables and a dunk tank.

“We lucked out with the weather this year,” Ellis said with a laugh in reference to the dunk tank.

To celebrate this year’s theme, Cinco de Mayo, students lined up to have their chance at breaking a piñata filled with candy. Students were spun in circles, blindfolded, as their friends and peers cheered. 

Valleypalooza was co-sponsored by Housing and Residence Life, Health Education and Promotion, ORAC, Study Away, Study Abroad and Global Learning and the Preston Center. Booths were set up across the lawn highlighting the different organizations, and prizes were raffled off to students. 

With the stress of finals approaching, Owensboro freshman Lorenn King said she liked that the event gave students a chance to take a break and have fun. 

Hope and CanDoo, WKU’s resident therapy dogs, were also present. 

The pair weren’t the only dogs on site, though.

Kara Sullivan, a nursing senior from Louisville, also brought along her dog so that he would be able to socialize with students and other dogs. 

Sullivan, who does not spend much time on campus due to the nursing program’s being off campus, said she enjoyed being able to do something on campus again. 

The event encourages people to get outside and spend time with their peers.

Kendra Coomes, an Owensboro sophomore, said she liked the fact that the event was designed to bring people together.

“I mean, you get to meet new people, and it gets people out of their rooms,” she said.

With the semester drawing to a close and people preparing for finals, Valleypalooza offered some momentary relief from the books.

“I think [Valleypalooza] is important right before finals,” said Dewayne Parrish, a Louisville sophomore volunteering at the event. “It’s a fun gesture of stress relief before all the students really have to go to work. It’s fun to bring the community together and see all your friends right before you don’t see them for the rest of the year because you’re studying.”