Skip to main content

WCU Stories

Large events, gatherings curtailed for fall 2020 semester

Valley Ballyhoo, the university’s annual welcome back festival, is one of several fall events that have been canceled.

Several events typically on the fall semester calendar at Western Carolina University are canceled for 2020 as part of significant changes to campus activities necessitated by state and health care professional guidance in response to COVID-19.

“Because of the unprecedented challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic and the high priority of both sustaining the well-being of our campus community and implementing the academic mission of WCU, we plan to restrict or cancel most large-venue and mass-gathering programs and events for the fall semester,” said Sam Miller, vice chancellor for student affairs. “We will continue to monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidance as the semester unfolds and will make additional changes as warranted by the circumstances.”

New Student Convocation, which provides an introduction to academic life for WCU’s newest students, and Valley Ballyhoo, the university’s annual welcome back festival, will not be held this fall. New Student Convocation may be held via video live stream or some other virtual method later in the fall. New students will receive information online about recognized student organizations and other community resources, a process used in the past when Valley Ballyhoo was canceled because of weather.

The annual Freshman Run, which sees first-year students dash across Bob Waters Field in E.J. Whitmire Stadium prior to kickoff at the Catamounts’ first home football game, also is canceled for this fall. Other events on tap for Family Weekend, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 18-20, are being reviewed by university officials.

Also under review is a week of events leading up to Homecoming weekend, set for Oct. 2-4. The annual Homecoming Parade, held in downtown Sylva on the Friday prior to the Homecoming football game, is canceled for this year.

The Department of Campus Activities is not making plans for any concerts in A.K. Hinds University Center, the Ramsey Regional Activity Center or outdoors at the Central Plaza. Mountain Heritage Day, WCU’s annual celebration of Southern Appalachian culture, also is canceled for September 2020.

For more information about the opening of the fall semester, visit

Office of Web Services