AugustFest introduces new students to campus

By Kayla Overbey

Monday, August 6, 2012

As the fall semester and move-in date for incoming freshman approach each year, the Division of Student Affairs and The Center for Student Involvement at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan., prepare a list of student activities and seminars. They schedule orientations, sport scrimmages, poster sales and picnics that include the Greek community, separate religious organizations and campus clubs.

The result is a three-week event that begins Aug. 12 and ends in September called AugustFest. The back-to-school celebration is designed to encourage communication between students and faculty and develop a campus of strangers into a close, familiar community.

While AugustFest holds a variety of optional events, some are required for incoming freshman and new students.  The new student orientation, which is held every year in Sheridan Hall’s Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center, is one such event. This orientation is designed to prepare new students for life at Fort Hays State.  Faculty and a keynote speaker will help familiarize new students with university policies and prepare them for the academic expectations of professors.

Fort Hays State conscientiously plans orientations for non-freshman, too.  Separate, respective orientations are available for adult learners and transfer students.

It is mandatory for freshman living in the residence hall to attend their respective floor meetings. During these meetings, residence assistants introduce Fort Hays State’s residence hall policies and regulations to freshman.

Another freshman-required event is Playfair, a popular student experience held in Lewis Field Stadium. At Playfair, students will receive the opportunity to develop friendships and become comfortable in the campus community through a fun hands-on encounter. 

AugustFest extends beyond required activities. One of the most popular AugustFest events is the annual back-to-school picnic, held in the campus Quad. Sponsored by Student Affairs and The Center for Student Involvement, this picnic is filled with music, organizations and opportunities to get involved on campus with faculty and students.

AugustFest intends to expose students to a variety of experiences that will best prepare them for a successful academic career. For example, the Senior Start-Up information session is directed toward seniors intending to graduate. 

Another academically important event is the T.I.G.E.R.S. Series Workshop. This program, offered by the Fort Hays State Kelly Center, begins a series of college and life skill workshops scheduled throughout the school year. The first workshop explains the TigerTracks program and enrollment, but the series varies over relationship issues, study techniques, money management and more.

Integral parts of the Fort Hays State community are the separate sports teams, sororities, fraternities and other organizations on campus. Throughout AugustFest, the different sports teams—men and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball—hold scrimmages and exhibition games to attract new students. “Get Plugged In!” invites students to meet all of the local Christian churches, college ministries and non-profit Christian coffee houses in the Hays area. The Greek community schedules a variety of events throughout AugustFest and offers scholarship, leadership and community service opportunities. 

While AugustFest is filled with beneficial programs, required orientations and a variety of organizations, other smaller events happen every day. There are dessert socials, club meet-and-greets, campus tours, poster sales, music performances, obstacle course competitions, theater rallies and more. AugustFest provides endless opportunities to meet peers and develop potential lifelong relationships.

This story was published on the FHSU website as a campus spotlight on Monday, August 6, 2012. I’m posting it here to archive my work. Read the story on the FHSU website here.