STORY BY LAURA KRUG
The Picnic in the Quad is an annual Fort Hays tradition which is held on the first-day classes are back in session. Despite the August heat, hundreds of students gathered in the quad this year for a chance to get involved at school and in the community. Jacob Ternes, the Assistant Director of the Memorial Union, helped to organize the event through Center for Student Involvement. This year, there were 167 organizations at the gathering, and Ternes says that this is a good outcome; in the past, the average number of tables has been around 160-175. He was excited to see the student involvement, and wants everyone to know that there are plenty of activities to be found in Hays and at the college; and with all of the great opportunities present, you should never say that there is nothing to do in Hays.
The FHSU Admissions office’s booth at the picnic handed out the newest “Tiger Gold On Friday” shirts, attracting a long line of students. Many clubs also added to the dynamic environment in the quad by showcasing their activities, such as the Tiger color guard waving flags, and the Aikido club practicing self-defense.
Kathryn Wilmington, a sophomore in the Kansas Academy of Math and Science (KAMS) program, is the President of the FHSU Aikido club. She says that the activity is beneficial for self-defense skills, situational awareness, confidence, physical activity and is a lot of fun. They offer two seminars during the year at FHSU taught by the president of the Aikido Association of America. During the picnic, Wilmington and the Aikido club members practiced rolling and blocking each other in combat near their booth.
The Tiger color guard is currently recruiting, and new members can join during this semester. There are currently 10 members in the color guard, and their first event will be on September 12th at the first FHSU football home game, performing at the halftime show.
A larger than life teeter-totter was an attraction at the picnic that Sigma Chi hopes could bring awareness to a charitable cause.
“We bring out the teeter-totter every year on the quad for our yearly philanthropy event, Derby Days. It is how we raise money for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. We go on the teeter-totter for 48 hours straight, with someone on it throughout the whole time,” said Raphael Furtado, the recruitment chairman at Sigma Chi.
You can typically find the totter-totter out on the quad for the fundraiser during the spring semester. The fraternity also has mandatory community service hours, has adopted a highway, and has created a lending library space in Frontier Park. Furtado says that by joining Greek Life at FHSU, he has opportunities to attend leadership workshops and be a part of something greater in his community.
The back-to-school picnic once again proved to be a well-attended event which allowed new and returning students alike to explore various clubs and organizations that FHSU has to offer.