People waiting online at Wolfieland. Wolfieland returns back to campus after a hiatus due to COVID-19. CAMRON WANG/ THE STATESMAN

Wolfieland, Stony Brook University’s annual carnival, returned on Sept. 11 at the SAC H parking lot and saw thousands of attendees, a record-breaking turnout compared to previous years.

This year’s Wolfieland, hosted by the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), had food trucks from local Long Island vendors, along with rides like Meltdown, an inflatable knockout-style ride where students have to jump over a spinning bar, and Round-Up, a ride that spins vertically as riders stand strapped to the wall. There was also a wide array of carnival games, in which students could get tickets and exchange them for prizes, like stuffed animals and sunglasses. 

Wolfieland was canceled last fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, this year’s event saw new changes, like a hand-washing and sanitizer station, an increased variety of prizes and rides and free admission for students. In 2019, tickets cost five dollars at the door and three dollars if bought in advance.

“The tickets are now free, which was something that hasn’t been done since the first two Wolfielands,” Christopher Jean, a junior biology major and USG vice president of student life said. Among the other significant changes, Jean said that the event was closed off to the public due to COVID-19 concerns, and that game stations and rides would be wiped down after each use. 

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Students attended Wolfieland in higher numbers than in previous years. Around 6,500 students participated, which is almost 4,000 more than 2019’s ticket sales, according to data collected from Christine Marullo, director of Student Engagement and Activities. 

This year’s Wolfieland also had five refreshment stations and five carnival games for students to enjoy. 

“The turnout really shows a desire to return to normal activities,” Manjot Singh, USG president said. “I’m glad to see this turnout, and as we progress into more events, however they look like and as we’re planning them, they’re going to be tailored more towards what the students want.”

“This past year has been really rough on everyone … most normal programming was off for the past year,” Jean said. “And with everyone coming back this semester, we wanted to welcome everybody back as much as we could, and Wolfieland was one of the easiest ways to do it.” 

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Wolfieland is the first big event at Stony Brook University since the start of the pandemic, and thus was a new experience for freshmen and sophomores alike. 

Students had some central complaints about the event, mainly regarding how the carnival was run and the wait time for the events.

“I think they could disperse the lines, because these lines are pretty long,” Alejandro Rojas, a sophomore biology major said. “Maybe give people more options to cut things back a bit.”

Food was also not included with entry into the event and were also all for sale. “The food should be free and there should be more rides,” Tabarjah Neal, a freshman biochemistry major said. 

Wolfieland is primarily funded by the Student Activities Fee, which is a mandatory fee that students have to pay as a part of the tuition. USG emphasized that this event was an example of “your student activities fee at work,” and Jean noted that there will be more events to come throughout the year. 

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“USG wants to put a smile on people’s faces,” Singh said. “We want them to feel welcomed.”

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