Amazing JWU Experiences You Shouldn't Miss

It’s always exciting to move in and find out all of the different events or traditions that your college has in store for the school year! As I finished my first year at Johnson & Wales there was always something happening on Gaebe Commons that always kept college life exciting! My favorite event that I got to experience was Ignite the Night during my JWU week of welcome. I got to meet so many people and just feel more at home away from where I grew up. So here are some events or traditions that you can look forward to at JWU.


JWU has all sorts of fun events that can make your college experience memorable. As a first-year student, I lived in a residence hall Downcity, bordering Gaebe Commons. Sometimes I would forget events were happening until I heard music and laughter, and when I would look outside my window at McNulty and Snowden I would see what the excitement was about! Here are just a few events my friends and I experienced last year:

Weeks of Welcome! (August and September)

The school year starts off with events that help build the Wildcat community. It all starts with Ignite the Night on Gaebe Commons, as first-year students are welcomed to their new home for the next four years!

Involvement Fest happens at Gaebe Commons too, where students can look at clubs and other fun ways to get active on campus.

And we didn’t miss the Wildcat Wahoo Carnival on the Harborside campus, where you can ride all kinds of rides and eat at the food trucks!

 JWU student hanging a lantern

Pawlooza (September)

Nope, no dogs at Pawlooza — but lots of Wildcats! This welcome back event on the Charlotte campus is sponsored by Campus Activities Board to start the semester off fun and make students aware of all the organizations they can get involved with. It includes giveaways, food, music and more!

Meet the Greeks and Student Involvement Fest (September)

Find out what sorority or fraternity that’s best for you! JWU has five fraternities, eight sororities and two social fellowships. Come to the Meek the Greeks fest to see all of the clubs and organizations that you can be a part of!

As for the Charlotte campus you can choose from 25 clubs to join — or start your own!

 students gathering for an event on Gaebe

Homecoming and Family Weekend (October)

This exciting weekend for everyone welcomes families and JWU alumni to Providence to celebrate old and new traditions and more fun fall activities! Even if you’re attending the Charlotte campus, you won’t be missing out because they also host their Homecoming (it's in February) and their Family Weekend is in October.

 JWU students holding a Homecoming Charlotte banner

Res Life Rumble (October)

Go support other Wildcats at this annual dodgeball tournament. There's even a commuter team as well, so everyone can join in on the fun! Students can gather to play in or cheer on this event at the Harborside Campus.

Wildcat Madness (October)

Go to the Harborside campus and have fun at spirit rallies with games, contests and music! Also, support JWU’s athletic teams, clubs & organizations, and fraternity and sorority groups.

Freak Week (October)

Participate in fun Halloween-themed events such as Costume Bingo and the annual Pumpkin Hunt in Providence!

The Charlotte Campus also hosts a Freak Fest where students get to have fun with all of the Halloween/Fall themed events and activities but they also have their annual Truck or Treat event!

Gaebe ChalkOUT

You and your friends should come out and add some color to Gaebe brick space with messages and celebration and support for National Coming Out Day!

 a rainbow flag and two students drawing with chalk


Winter Week (February)

Both JWU campuses host fun activities such as One-Ton Sundae at the Pepsi Forum in Wales Hall where you can get a free bucket of vanilla or chocolate ice cream! You can also add some of your favorite toppings such as sprinkles, gummy worms, cookie dough and much more!

2023 JWU Sharkfest (April)

Support and check out JWU’s business pitch idea competition where savvy students try to win a cash prize! Hosted by the Larry Friedman Center for Entrepreneurship. Prepare for the fun by reading up on three things to know about Sharkfest.

 three JWU students first place winners for 2022 sharkfest

A&S Student Research and Scholarship Showcase (April)

New students can celebrate academic achievements and share ideas at the John Hazen White College of Arts & Sciences showcase.

Spring Week (April)

Fun events to celebrate the season and, of course, JWU with fun events like Battle of the Campus and Drag Bingo!

JWU Players Spring Musical (April)

Support JWU’s amazing theatrical students and watch their superstar performances! The Players have performed musicals such as Bright Star, Cabaret, and even hosted some fun Open Mic Night of Mischief! Follow them at Jwuplayerspvd on socials to find out when and where their next performance will be!

Cupcake Wars (April)

Cupcake vs. Cupcake is a tasty tournament tradition at JWU. You can either compete for the cupcake crown or taste the competition! To enter this contest there will be 10 teams of four, and at least one person from each group has to be a baking or culinary major. This event is held in the CCE Lobby and LAB 209.

Wales & Tails (April)

This event happens on the Charlotte campus at AC courtyard. This is for faculty, staff, and students can enjoy the end of the year with their dogs! Enjoy some music, DJ, food and activities with your furry friend!


Now you know that there will never be a boring moment on JWU campus because we have ALL-YEAR events happen that you can participate in. Here are a few faves:

Wildcat Wednesday

Show your JWU spirit by wearing BLUE and YELLOW every Wednesday!


jwu students take a group picture

CFIT Bake Sales

Buy some of the best treats made by JWU Baking & Pastry Arts students at affordable prices! Sample new treats every week on the Harborside Campus on Thursdays from 12-2 p.m. during the Fall and Spring semesters.

These are just some of the fun events that happen either during the Fall, Spring, or all year! I definitely enjoyed Ignite the Night; it was a really fun way to make friends and to get a little taste of what the college experience I would be getting! Another event that I really enjoyed was the Wahoo Carnival. My friends and I had a blast riding all of the rides and eating some good carnival food!

You can stay up to date by following the UIBJWURI (University Involvement Board JWU Rhode Island) on Instagram, and if you’re on the Charlotte campus you can also follow JWUCLTCAB (JWU Charlotte Campus Activities Board) & JWUCLTINVOLVED (JWU Charlotte Campus Student Engagement) on Instagram. And make sure you look at the posters around campus to stay up to date!

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