Pass Through the Pillars 2023

With the Eagle Drum Corps and Cheer Team members leading the way, on Sept. 19 hundreds of newly arrived Eagles kicked off their academic careers by parading through Eastern’s iconic Herculean Pillars.

EWU’s annual Pass Through the Pillars event, now one of the university’s most cherished traditions, recreates the route generations of students once took from Cheney’s downtown train depot to their new collegiate homes. When today’s students march through the pillars, they are greeted by a cheering throng of faculty, staff and returning students lined up along the “Hello Walk” that leads to Showalter Hall. A catered barbeque follows.

Kelsey Hatch-Brecek, Eastern’s director of alumni relations, kicked off this year’s event by schooling new students on the pillars’ significance. Constructed from granite salvaged from the burned out remains of EWU’s original Cheney Normal School building, Hatch-Brecek said, the pillars have for more than a century symbolized the resilience of the university and its students.

“For 107 years these gates of knowledge, or Herculean Pillars, have shown that the spirit of Eastern cannot be defeated,” she said.

Bonds between past and present were front and center for Amelia Klewin, a first-year student from Ritzville, Washington. Klewin says she ended up at EWU in part because her dad was an Eagle. “He is really excited for me,” she said. “And I think it’s really cool for him too.”

Like Klewin and her dad, Brooke Sentenn was also relishing the buzz. “I’ve never done something like this before,”said Sentenn, a first-year student from Spokane. “It’s nice to meet other freshmen and bond over new experiences.”

Pass Through the Pillars is just one of many events scheduled for Eastern’s Welcome Week festivities. You can access the full schedule by visiting InsideEWU’s 2023 Welcome Week coverage.