Photography student Maya Jaynes, left, and dental hygiene student Jacqueline Claybrooks battle it out on a joust platform.
At Owens Community College, the school year started off with a splash as students participated in Fall Fest, an annual meet-and-mingle event that featured some wacky water wars this year.
In addition to free food (always a popular thing with college kids), the Fall Fest lineup was filled with live entertainment and fun stuff to do.
Students could climb a rock wall, zip down an inflatable slide, or pummel an opponent with a water balloon during the new activity dubbed "water wars."
Originally, Owens hosted spring flings, offering students a chance to let off some extra energy as the school year wrapped up, but after hearing comments that such an event would be a great way to start off the year, Fall Fest was born.
"We kept hearing students say it was fun and a good way to meet new friends, and they wished they could meet others at the first part of the school year. We decided to do the Fall Fast as a way to welcome students back to school and then included the business departments, enrollment services, security, the library, and any department that wanted to be involved. They set up tables out there and students get their questions answered, and they get to know the campus easier," John Byers, manager of student activities, said. "It is the first main event of the school year."
Denise Russell, a mother of two Owens students, foreground, gets a rubdown from massage therapist student Danica Spaulding.
About 2,000 students participated in the event, sponsored by Student Government and the Office of Student Activities.
The fest not only served as a way to welcome students back to school, but to provide information about various clubs and organizations available on campus. Community organizations were also on hand with information.
The fast-paced Fall Fest is a big kick-off for Owens, and marks the first event of the school year where students can get tour books stamped.
The tour books, which are provided by the student activities office, help promote participation in activities "outside of the book," Mr. Byers said. Students earn "points" toward prizes as their books get stamped, such as during workshops or campus programs with guest speakers, singers, song writers, or authors.
Prizes are awarded at an year-end party, based on the number of stamps collected. The top prize is a free three-hour-credit class; that prize has been provided by the Owens Foundation, Mr. Byers said.
Owens borrowed the tour-book idea from Lourdes College as a way to generate more interest in extracurricular activities.