Thousands attend 29th annual Fall Fest

Kat Klawes

On a cold and gloomy Monday afternoon, students began their first day of the 2015-16 school year attending the 29th annual Fall Fest outside the Don H. Bottum University Center.

The event was made up of student organizations, businesses and departments on campus promoting their organizations. Fall Fest was held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an estimated 5,000 people attended the event.

Jon Barch, the associate director of the Center for Student Enrichment and Student Leader Fellowship Program coordinator said the Center for Student Enrichment is the hub for student organizations and student activities. “We are generally responsible for coordinating the registration and general advisement of the 325 plus student organizations at NMU as well,” Barch said.re2-IMG_9376

According to Barch, 128 of the over 300 registered NMU student organizations hosted a table at Fall Fest. “It was packed as usual for most of the day, and when it is packed I would estimate that there were nearly 1,000 people out there checking out the booths,” Barch said. “It is packed for about five hours and I would guess most people only spend an hour checking it out so I am going to toss a guess out there that probably about 5,000 people attended and I would estimate that four out of five of them were NMU students.”

“Access to share their group, in a face-to-face, fun atmosphere.  They can put themselves out there with a display, a smile and an explanation of why interested students might want to join. It’s one of the best self-promotion and recruitment opportunities of the year held right when new students are looking for their social connection to the university community.”

Katelyn Craghead, a sophomore psychology and sociology major and the president of NMU student organization OUTlook said her orginization reached hundreds of students at Fall Fest.  “Northern Michigan University on-campus LGBT group that is active in related community activism and helping to foster a safer space for community members campus-wide,” Craghead said.

“Being a unique group makes recruiting that much more important, to let students know who we are.”

Craghead went on to state that Fall Fest was an important event as it allowed OUTlook to recruit new members.

“Recruiting and having new members join OUTlook is extremely important,” Craghead said. “Like with any organization, it’s very important to reach out to students directly. I would definitely recommend student organizations host a table at Fall Fest. It’s a great way to reach out to the student population.

“I would absolutely recommend students attend Fall Fest in the future. There’s always great free food and tons of other great organizations.”

Rachel Harris, the director for the Center for Student Enrichment and Superior Edge Program said she heard positive feedback from students organization members and from businesses.

“Everyone was pleased with the student traffic,” Harris said. “The entire CSE office pitches in to ensure that the event runs smoothly.  Fall Fest is a big undertaking and we couldn’t do it without all hands on deck.”

Melissa Orzechowski, a student assistant for the Superior Edge program, also said that she felt Fall Fest was very successful. “Despite threats of poor weather, a lot of students and community members attended the event and had a good time,” Orzechowski said. “Center for Student Enrichment graduate assistant Sara Pingel in particular spent a lot of time and put a lot of work into making sure everything ran smoothly.”

The mission statement for the Center for Student Enrichment states its purpose is to provide “the students of Northern Michigan University with a variety of extracurricular and classroom-connected experiences that will enable you to grow personally and professionally, to connect with the campus and surrounding communities, and more thoroughly enjoy the college experience. In the process, we will seek to help you develop the skills and awareness required to be an effective leader and an engaged citizen.” Students interested in learning more about the Center for Student Enrichment should visit the Center for Student Enrichment at 1205 University Center or by email at [email protected]