Fall Kick-Off! What You Might Have Missed

Fall Kick-Off! What You Might Have Missed

By Alisa Samadani, A&E Editor Originally published in Issue 1, Volume 34 of The University Register on September 17, 2021

It’s a new academic year, Cougars! With this new year came a full schedule for Fall Kick Off, and we have had some fun moments to share. Now, keep in mind that all of these events were free, and that plenty of the events offered on campus are free to attend, or at little cost.

On Friday, August 27, Briggs library held an exciting game night at 6 P.M. There were a wide variety of games available, and hours of fun ensued.

On Saturday, August 28, laser tag was hosted in Oyate Hall from noon to 3 P.M. Although the game was kept to the inside of the building, streaks of color were seen scattered throughout the mall. You could say it was quite the spec-tag-cal. No? Okay.

Later that day, campus welcomed The Good, The Dan, The Florida Man as our guest performers. The trio, consisting of Ryan Kelly, Dan Spencer, and Ben Brainard, held an audience in the Edson auditorium of the Student Center and started at 7 P.M. If you’d like to read more about The Good, The Dan, The Florida Man, flip over to page 8 to find out more.

On Sunday, August 29, Oyate was filled with the sounds of shuffling feet and nervous gamblers as a casino night was hosted from 5 PM to 7 PM.

This event was interesting, as students started with chips equating to roughly 2000 imaginary dollars, with 3000 imaginary dollars being equivalent to one raffle ticket. A raffle ticket could be placed towards the chance to win any items that were upon the display table, this included cookware, headphones, and some small simple gifts as well. Now, while it seems statistically impossible to produce more than one raffle ticket, students were not about to be sorted by the simple system.

With high stakes and a handful of cards, students ran over to play either Blackjack or Poker and while some won big (one student I ran into had somehow produced 3 raffle tickets and won 2 items), others went home with the simple satisfaction of a battle well fought. Winners of the raffle items were chosen at 7:30 PM, and the event closed afterwards.

This event concluded the major events of our first Welcome Week, but there was still more to come.

On Sunday, September 5, the Campus Activities Council (CAC) hosted the cherished campus event, Reddy Teddy Go, in Louie’s Lower Level. The event began at 3 P.M. and as always, saw plenty of company.

Later that day, CAC played a free movie on the Mall at 9:30 P.M. Students gathered with safe distances out on the grass and enjoyed a showing of Godzilla Vs. Kong. If you’d like to read more on the film and some opinions about who should have won, flip over to page 9 to read more. Although the grass was damp, there were plenty of excited faces looking up at the screen, and the second weekend of events came to a close.

However, this was not the last event to be featured before lectures resumed.

On Labor Day, Monday, September 6, campus carried out the annual Fall Day of Service. Students were encouraged to RSVP beforehand and fill out a form with their name, email, and project preference. The event took place in multiple locations throughout Morris and lasted from noon to roughly 6 p.m. The Fall Day of Service was hosted and organized by the Office of Community Engagement.

On this momentous day, proper measures were taken to abide by CDC and MDH guidelines, as masks were required in vehicles and indoors. Social distancing was practiced outdoors, as well as indoors as much as possible.

Labor Day marks a significant milestone in workers’ rights. In addition to marking the start of the school year for many K-12 institutions, this holiday celebrates the efforts of Americans past, present, and future in securing their rights in the workplace.

This nation has seen changes in working hours, minimum age to begin working, and significant improvements to the discrimination of workers and opportunities for advancement in their respective areas of employment. These are among a myriad of different areas of growth that we have seen, with more growth to come in the near future.

After a full year of uncertainty and an ongoing pandemic, this day was a much needed activity for the community. Being able to spend time with one another - assisting a community that for the past year we’ve only been able to Zoom in to see - was a breath of fresh air for many of us.

There were a variety of different projects, from helping out with the kittens’ cage cleaning at the Humane Society, to cleaning up trails in SWELL, helping to paint windows at West Winds Village, as well as collecting data for the butterflies.

Molly Falnes was able to give us an overall summary of how the day went.

“The day overall went great. We had a nice turn out and the weather was perfect for the outdoor activities that we had. The projects were all completed and we were able to reach out and help the community in many ways.

Our volunteers were able to help different areas of Morris that no one would be able to do on their own. The students were able to talk with the elders about their life stories living here in Morris and around the area. The animals of the humane society were given clean cages and the butterflies were collected and released for data collection.

Finally, the SWELL project that was able to keep a nature center clean out and get ready for school to start. Overall, it was a beautiful day full of enriching experiences and awesome opportunities to contribute to the community and give back.”

If I may, it’s events like these that make me proud to be a Morris student. Sure, we are roughly 65 minutes away from the nearest Walmart and three hours away from the nightlife, but we are a powerful force to be reckoned with. Anything that we set our mind to, whether it’s helping out with the senior living community or hosting a community meal, we go above and beyond to show that we can do just as much (if not more) than our larger cousin campus in the Twin Cities.

With restrictions relaxed and the current “Get the Vax 2.0” plan underway, it’s only a matter of time until we are able to do programs and events the way that we used to. I know that I’m not alone when I say I’m excited for the future of this campus, and our thriving community consisting of both students and local residents.

The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) is always looking for ways that students can interact with the community and help better this beautiful area that we call home. Keep your eyes peeled for more events coming up!

Image courtesy of Kari Adams, UMM Flickr.