By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thousands of students from 50 Universities and colleges got a warm welcome Saturday to kickoff their school year.

Thousands of students were having a blast at Dilworth Park in Center City for CollegeFest 2017, an annual, all-day welcome party put on by Campus Philly.

READ MORE: Dr. Fauci Predicts Johnson & Johnson Vaccine To Come Back To Market With Restrictions Or Warnings By Friday

“Campus Philly is a nonprofit that partners with the regional colleges and universities to welcome and engage college students and encourage them to stay in Philadelphia after they graduate,” said Campus Philly president Deborah Diamond, “and 64% of them do stay after they graduate.”

READ MORE: Teens Age 15, 16, Charged In Series Of Violent Carjackings In Delaware

Emily, a freshman at Arcadia University, is from Long Island. She says there’s a lot that she wants to take from getting a higher education in Philadelphia.

“I want to explore internships,” she said, “and just meeting new people and getting new experiences in life.”

MORE NEWS: Man, Woman Shot To Death In North Philadelphia

Many stood in line for a wristband, which provided free admission to fourteen museums and free rides on the Philly PHLASH for the day.