Shouts of glee and jubilant laughter mingled with the upbeat music floating across the Andrews University campus on Monday, September 4 Andrews University Student Association (AUSA) hosted their first major event of the new school year: a Labor Day carnival.
The Labor Day bash attracted people of all ages, from small children to adults. Brightly colored inflatable bounce houses and slides dotted the athletic field. A dunk tank stood at one end, where AUSA officers were drenched. Sumo wrestling, basketball, “speed-o-meter,” face painting, and of course, food were other attractions. Students got the chance to meet their AUSA officers, spend time with old friends, and make new ones while enjoying their day off.
AUSA Social Vice President, Jordanne Howell-Walton (senior, psychology), planned the event, drawing inspiration from her experiences at various state and county fairs growing up.
“Where I grew up in Massachusetts, we have this fair called the ‘Big E,’” she explained. “Every state in New England comes together, and they do carnival food, and different games and different rides. And when I moved here to Michigan, I experienced my first county fair.”
Going out to a fair was a yearly Labor Day family tradition for Howell-Walton, and this year she decided to bring the fun to Andrews University. She hoped to make the carnival a place for everyone and serve as an icebreaker.
Kevin Moreno (Master of Divinity, fourth year), and his wife attended the event with their two little children. They loved the family-friendliness of the event, and Moreno especially enjoyed Sumo wrestling. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” he said.
“I like the bounce house,” Sydney Hutchins (sophomore, animal science), said after participating in multiple activities.
For Edward Breja (junior, computer science), the pizza and funnel cake was the best part. “I like the food,” he said between bites. “That’s the main reason I came here.”
The fun was not limited to participants alone. “Some people are observers, [some] people are participators, so my goal with each event is to create a space for everyone,” Jordanne noted. Something that “gives you the opportunity to be like, oh yeah, like, this is cool to watch, but this is also fun to participate in.” Her goal appears successful. Ellyn Burdick (sophomore, communications) sat in the sun observing the activity around her. “I enjoy it vicariously,” she said. “Watching other people enjoy it is good enough for me.”
“I am so excited and eager to be planning these events, and I love feedback from students,” Howell-Walton said. “I love hearing how they feel about events, and that helps me learn how to create and plan better events for the future in the school year so that everyone has a place, because everyone is welcome. We’re a huge family here at Andrews,” she smiled. Anyone who wishes to provide feedback or suggestions to Howell-Walton may contact her via Facebook.
AUSA has many more fun events in the works, two of which are coming up this month: Outdoor Sabbath is set for September 16, and Spirit Week begins September 25.