With Week of Welcome coming to a close, Smorgasport makes its return to wrap up the fall semester’s second week of classes this Friday from 7 p.m.-11 p.m.
Admission is free for Cal State Long Beach students and those attending must be over the age of 18 to participate in the festivities. Attractions can be found at both the USU Games Center as well as Parking Lot 3, which is tucked between the University Student Union and the Kinesiology building on lower campus. The first thousand people to arrive can expect a free Smorgasport T-shirt.
The Smorgasport tradition began in 2000 when Associated Students, Inc., Club Sports and Recreation, Student Life and Development, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs and the athletics department put their heads together to create an event that celebrated the beginning of the school term.
“Back to school parties have a reputation being associated with alcohol, so in response ASI, club sports and our other campus partners started Smorgasport as an alternative, alcohol-free kick-off event for the school term,” ASI Senior Communications Manager James Ahumada said.
ASI has only seen interest grow in Smorgasport since then, and the Beach Pride Events coordinators do not expect that to change after 16 years of success.
Attendance for Smorgasport the past two years has averaged about 4,500 students, but ASI projected an increase in attendees to about 5,000 participants this year due to increased interest in their social media posts advertising the event.
Beach Pride Events Program Assistant Jonathan Ibarra encourages students to attend the annual carnival.
“It adds that kind of fun environment and that kind of stress-free level before school actually starts hitting [students] with all the assignments,” Ibarra said. “With so much stress, we need a moment to just kind of relax and chill.”
Beach Pride Events has been planning this year’s Smorgasport since the beginning of the summer and with all the elements involved in the planning, it has been stressful on the organizers. Despite the stress, Ibarra says the work invested is worth it.
“When I see all the students enjoying [Smorgasport] or cheering when they get free shirts and stuff, I feel a sense of relief that I did my job well,” Ibarra said.
Ahumada says more popular attractions like laser tag will make a return this year, but students can also look forward to the introduction of new interactives like a roller rink and a tilt-a-whirl.
Booths for campus departments will also be set up. Unlike Week of Welcome, which hosts over 200 clubs, Smorgasport will highlight a smaller number of clubs and provide another opportunity for student organizations to exhibit their talents and attract prospective new members.
Beach Pride Events has also introduced a new feature in the Tapingo app, a mobile app that allows users to order food for pick-up from venues on campus. Instead of food, however, the app includes a list of the activities and venues that will be available this Friday at Smorgasport.