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Walla Walla, WA
Wednesday, October 4, 2023

ASWWU Events Through the Years

May 31, 2023
Kudzai Mhondiwa
Nicholas Humphries

A Selection of Familiar and Unfamiliar ASWWU Events

Kudzai Mhondiwa and Nicholas Humphries 

The Associated Students of Walla Walla University has been in operation in some form since 1914 when the Collegiate Association, a precursor to ASWWU, was formed. Although ASWWU, or ASWWC as it was known until 2007, has always strived to put on fun and original events for students, many of those events change from year to year. Here is a look back in time at some familiar and not-so-familiar ASWWU events that have marked campus life. 

One event still put on today is ASWWU’s dating game show. In 1994, ASWWU was led by the then President Rich Tyler. During winter quarter, he and his team hosted what they called the Dating Game ‘94, which is comparable to the TV show “Love is Blind” found on today’s major streaming platforms.  

One not-so-familiar event from 1994 was a bizarre game called donkey basketball. Yes, you read that right! Real-life, breathing donkeys ridden by students trying to aim for the baskets.

One of ASWWU’s long-standing goals has been to keep students at the edge of their seats when it comes to creating memorable events. For an example, let’s go back in time to the year 1981 when the fall quarter Bed Races were held on College Avenue where students performed daring stunts to reach the finish line. This event included stunts such as four students riding unicycles while simultaneously carrying a fellow student on a mattress who manages to balance themselves atop the turbulent ride. This brazen event carried on until the year 2007 and spurred moments of exhilaration from competitors and nervousness from onlookers.  

We now fast forward to another wacky event in the year 2004. At this time, ASWWU was led by the then President Paul Rhynard. This year brought a new style to the campus with ASWWU’s faculty and staff makeovers.  

This event featured a few familiar professors, including Paul Dybdahl, Susan Bungard, and Pedrito Maynard-Reid modeling some rather hip outfits. Students across the gymnasium were starstruck by the excitement surrounding the grand reveal of WWU’s faculty and staff. 

Throughout its history, ASWWU has aways had staple events that occur each year. One such event that ASWWU still organizes is Barn Party. According to Paul Rhynard, it was the biggest event offered by ASWWU during his tenure as president from 2003-2004. [1] Throughout the years, Barn Party has offered outlandish costumes and fun times. Here is a throwback to 1964’s Barn Party. 

There are also some crazy, one-off events that aren’t hosted again, sometimes due to embarrassing reasons. During Paul Rhynard’s tenure at ASWWC, he hosted a prank day. Unfortunately, it became serious when students began stealing toilet paper from campus restrooms to stack up next to his office, which prompted a quick apology and cancellation of the event in the future. 

Banquets have also always been a big part of ASWWU’s traditions. ASWWU banquets have been different throughout the years, each offering their own unique take on a special night for students. Below is one such special night in 1972. 

Other events can reappear after a hiatus. One such event is Rail Jam, where students show their trick skills by jumping and riding rails on their skis or snowboards. This event began around 2013 and has been organized on and off until its last appearance in 2022.  

Here, a student shows off by doing a back flip at the 2013 Rail Jam. 


ASWWU has always given student leaders the opportunity to use their diverse talents to serve their peers in different ways, not only through events, but also through legislation and services like the ASWWU Senate, the Tread Shed, or The Atlas. These experiences teach students lessons in accountability, group management, and teamwork that push them to accomplish amazing things at WWU and beyond. However, one of the best parts of ASWWU is its events that create memories that last a lifetime. 



  1. Interview with Paul Rhynard, 4/13/2023. 
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