A cherished link to Eastern’s past returns, this time without restrictions.
On a beautiful fall day, led by the Eagle Drum Corps and flanked by cheering faculty, staff and Greek Life members, hundreds of incoming students in September “passed through” EWU’s iconic Herculean Pillars to begin their university careers.
The annual event, now one of Eastern’s most cherished traditions, recreates the path generations of students once took from Cheney’s downtown train depot to their new collegiate homes. These days, their belongings safely stowed in residence halls, the newly arrived Eagles are encumbered only by red and white pom-poms and complimentary bar-b-que.
“I’m so excited for what’s to come!” said one happy undergraduate, Alana Zamora, a soon-to-be biology major from the Tri-Cities, right before the walk.
This year’s event was especially exciting given that it was “restriction free” — meaning that, unlike last year’s gathering, students could enjoy the day without pandemic-related health and safety requirements.
Constructed from granite salvaged from the ruins of EWU’s original Cheney Normal School building, the posts powerfully represent the perseverance and resilience of the university and its students.
Passing through the pillars is one of a slew of Welcome Week activities designed to help new students seamlessly adapt to university life. Unlike some of the other entertaining activities, however, the pillars event signifies more than just a symbolic start, said Kelsey Hatch-Brecek, Eastern’s director of alumni relations. Constructed from granite salvaged from the ruins of EWU’s original Cheney Normal School building, the posts powerfully represent the perseverance and resilience of the university and its students.
“For 107 years, these gates of knowledge, these Herculean Pillars, have symbolized that the spirit of Eastern cannot be defeated,” Hatch-Brecek told attendees.
For the newly arrived members of the Class of 2026, however, the day’s focus was, understandably, mostly on the excitement of the here and now. “It feels good to be here,” said Grace Grubaugh, an outdoor recreation major from Medical Lake. “I’ve been on campus the last couple days and doing all the Welcome Week activities. It’s been awesome!”
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