Unfamiliar surroundings, over-packed cars, crowds of strangers and empty pockets are not uncommon experiences for students at the beginning of a new school year. The sudden change can be overwhelming, but Fort Hays State University offers a solution.
AugustFest, a three-week long slew of activities organized by Student Affairs, will return for a fourth year, beginning Aug. 19 and running until Sept. 9. Events are designed to expose new and old students to each other and to FHSU.
"AugustFest is not just one event," said Christina D. Davidson, FHSU graduate student and coordinator of AugustFest 2004. "It is spread over three weeks. It's just the concept of having things for the new and old students to do during the first few weeks of school. We want to familiarize them with as much of FHSU as possible."
AugustFest begins when campus residence halls open and students move in and start settling down for the academic year. Students who move in between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Aug. 19 will receive a free Tiger Tag placed on their vehicles by university faculty, administration and students.
FHSU athletics will provide Tiger Ice and the Residence Hall Association will serve refreshments at each residence hall. A barbecue at Custer Hall Gazebo, sponsored by Christian Challenge, will end the move-in day with food, music and games. The University Activities board is sponsoring a free show by comedienne Megan Mooney at 8 p.m. in the Wiest Hall Lounge.
New Student Orientation Aug. 20 will include presentations on the importance of making healthy choices. Breakout sessions will focus on academic life, building a support network, getting a life, and technology at FHSU. Following the morning's sessions, a student-faculty lunch at the Memorial Union will allow students the opportunity to meet with faculty from their major departments. Free Kool-Aid will be available in each of the dorms.
Events Saturday, Aug. 21, begin at 2 p.m. at Gross Memorial Coliseum, when the Lady Tiger volleyball team participates in a Black and Gold Scrimmage, then will move to the banks of Big Creek northeast of Cunningham Hall at 3 p.m. for the FHSU Bluegrass Festival, which will end only when the sun goes down.
Renowned Kansas bluegrass bands Spontaneous Combustion and the McLemore Family will provide entertainment. Pre-event tickets will be available from designated community businesses for $2.50. Tickets will be $5 at the gate.
The festival is sure to be a "foot stompin', finger lickin', scholarship supporting good time," said Davidson.
If the day proves to be too hot, students are invited to the Hays Aquatic Park from noon-4 p.m. for free swimming, sponsored by the University Activities Board. FHSU student identification will be required for admission to the pool.
The University Activities Board will host a free drive-in movie at 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22, at Lewis Field Stadium. The film is yet to be announced. Students are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for an "old-fashioned good time."
Classes begin Monday, Aug. 23. Also opening will be the Wellness Center, where FHSU students whose priority is to stay fit can use weight machines and treadmills. From 5-7 p.m. the campus Quad will be the center of action. The Back-to-School Picnic will provide a free meal for students with meal plans. All students, faculty, staff and visitors are welcome. Individuals without meal plans can expect a $2.50 charge.
The University Activities Board will sponsor live classic rock and blues music by the Blue Healers. Novelty activities such as free caricatures and candle art will be available along with tug-of-war games sponsored by Tiger Wild. Free prizes will be given away. The picnic is a wonderful chance for students to visit various campus organization booths and get involved.
The Sternberg Museum of Natural History will host a free-admission night from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24. At 6 p.m. that day, the University Activities Board will host a recruitment social in the McMindes Hall Living Room for all students interested in UAB activities.
Students living in residence halls have yet another opportunity for free food from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25, when Agnew Hall welcomes students back with a barbeque followed by volleyball and more time for students to mingle and become acquainted with each other and with faculty.
Forsyth Library will host an open house on Thursday, Aug. 26. Tours are available from 2-4 p.m. and students may also enter a drawing for a chance to win prizes.
Friday, Aug. 27, features the opening of Sorority Formal Recruitment and the Hays Arts Council's Fall Gallery Walk. Sorority Formal Recruitment will begin at 5:15 p.m. in the Pioneer Lounge, located in the Memorial Union. Women interested in formal recruitment must attend. Recruitment ends with a bid day on Monday, Aug. 30, in the Memorial Union's Sunset Lounge
The Gallery Walk, from 7-9 p.m. will provide the opportunity to spend an evening wandering from one art display to another from campus to downtown. Individuals may contact the Hays Arts Council for further information regarding the Gallery Walk exhibits and locations.
FHSU's intramural department will also offer signup opportunities beginning the first day of school in Cunningham Hall, room 128, for students to get involved in a variety of classes, including aerobics, kickboxing and general and cardio-vascular fitness.
"It's a great way to stay in shape, get to know one another and relax. Students need to find something that will help combat stress and relax as well as start to enjoy a healthy lifestyle," said Ron Haag, intramurals director.
AugustFest's three-week long chain of events will heighten on Sept. 4, as the FHSU Tigers battle the Pittsburg State University Gorillas at 7 p.m. in Lewis Field Stadium. Students can enjoy pre-game activities at the annual TailGreat outside Lewis Field stadium in the parking lot starting at 5 p.m. where food, entertainment and fun will abound.
FHSU's annual Campus-Community Service Fair, sponsored by the Leadership Studies Department, will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9, in the Fort Hays Ballroom. Chances for interaction among members of the Hays community and FHSU faculty and staff will be provided. Students will have the chance to learn about various ways to get involved in the college and community.