Amazing JWU Experiences You Shouldn’t Miss

Updated to reflect the 2023-24 academic year. 

It’s always exciting to move in and discover 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 kept college life exciting. My favorite event was Ignite the Night during my JWU Week of Welcome. This event gave me the opportunity to meet so many people and it's when I started to feel at home. Here are some events and traditions that you can look forward to at the JWU Providence and Charlotte campuses. 


JWU has all sorts of fun fall events that can make your college experience memorable. As a first-year student, I lived in a residence hall in Downcity, bordering Gaebe Commons. Sometimes I forgot events were happening until I heard music and laughter coming from outside of my window. I loved the convenience of being able to look outside and see what was going on. Here are just a few events my friends and I experienced last year:

Ignite the Night (August)

Ignite the Night is one of many events that help build the Wildcat community. Taking place on Gaebe Commons in Providence and the Residential Quad in Charlotte, first-year students are welcomed to their new home for the next four years.

jwu students hanging lanterns

Student Involvement Fest (September)

JWU’s Student Involvement Fest is a great way for students at both campuses to look into clubs, groups, Greek Life and more. From academic-focused clubs to recreational sports, there are plenty of opportunities to get active on campus. 

Check out our latest Student Club and Organizations blog to learn about JWU’s 100+ clubs.

students playing volleyball gaebe common

Pawlooza (September)

Nope, no dogs at Pawlooza — but lots of Wildcats! Sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, this welcome back event on the Charlotte campus is another invigorating way to kick-start the semester. Pawlooza includes giveaways, food, music and more, and it encourages students to explore the numerous organizations offered on campus.

Meet the Greeks (September)

Find out what sorority or fraternity is best for you at Meet the Greeks! During this time, sororities and fraternities at both the Charlotte and Providence campuses meet with students to answer questions and chat about their organizations.

male and female college students in sorority and fraternity apparel

Homecoming and Family Weekend (October)

Homecoming and Family Weekend at JWU Providence welcomes family, friends and alumni to celebrate old and new traditions including pumpkin painting, Wildcat trivia, karaoke and more. This year, the annual Wildcat Wahoo Carnival takes place during Family Weekend. With unlimited rides, delicious treats and even a few surprises, this event is a JWU staple. 

While Charlotte's Homecoming Weekend is in the spring, Friends and Family Weekend is also in October. This weekend is packed with activities like Bingo, a cooking demo, a cookout, a baking class and a wine tasting class. 

JWU students holding a Homecoming Charlotte banner

Res Life Rumble (October)

Go support other Wildcats at this annual dodgeball tournament. Students can choose to join the competition or cheer on this event at the Providence Harborside Campus.

Freak Week (October)

Participate in fun Halloween-themed events such as Costume Bingo and the annual Pumpkin Hunt in Providence! Freak Fest at the Charlotte Campus also includes numerous Halloween/Fall themed events along with the annual Truck or Treat event! 

This year Providence students can head off campus for a Haunted Boat Tour or a trip to Salem, a historical town in Massachusetts famous for its witch trials. Charlotte students can explore haunted attractions at Carowinds Amusement Park which transforms into SCarowinds from mid-September through October. 

Gaebe Chalk OUT (October)

In observance of National Coming Out Day on October 11, JWU Providence students add some color to the Gaebe brick space with messages of support and celebration. 

a rainbow flag and two students drawing with chalk


Winter Week (February)

Both JWU campuses host One-Ton Sundae 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 other sugary treats.

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 ahead of time by reading up on our Three Things to Know About Sharkfest.

See which business pitches won the 2023 Sharkfest competition at each of JWU’s campuses. 

Sawyer Cosgrove holding his prototype for Lace Case, a plastic case to protect shoes

Student Research, Design & Innovation Symposium (April)

Students at the Providence and Charlotte campuses showcase their research, prototypes and industry-specific projects at the Student Research, Design & Innovation Symposium. 

Check out some the unbelievable projects displayed at the April 2023 Symposium

Spring Week (April)

Celebrate the season with events like Battle of the Campus and Drag Bingo at JWU Providence.

JWU Players Spring Musical (April)

Support JWU Providence'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  to find out when and where their next performance will be.

Wales & Tails and Paws to De-Stress (April)

JWU Charlotte faculty, staff, and students can enjoy the end of the year with their dogs at the yearly Wales & Tails event. Enjoy some music, food and activities with your furry friend.

At JWU Providence, students can pet therapy dogs and relax at the annual Paws to De-Stress event. 

female student petting dog


There truly is never a dull moment at JWU because we have events going on all year. Below are a few of my personal favorites: 

Wildcat Wednesday

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

jwu students take a group picture

CFIT Bake Sales at JWU Providence

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.

This article covers just a few of the events that happen at our JWU campuses! 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 at JWU is like.


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