On a rainy Sunday, two students played ring toss to win stuffed animals, IU pens or cups in Cedar Hall. A group of residents sat together at round tables while they decorated small ceramic succulent pots with paint pens. A student spun a wheel at one table and won a reusable water bottle as 2010s’ pop music filled the room from a speaker.
The IU Residence Hall Association organized its first-ever Fall Festival at the Union Street Center Sunday afternoon. The festival welcomed six student organizations and gave on-campus residents a chance to explore club involvements and enjoy refreshments.
RHA Vice President of Programming Elyse Pickering, who organized the festival, said she hoped to provide residents with a place to meet people and explore what they can do at IU, especially given that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult.
Pickering said this is the first time the RHA has hosted Fall Fest and said she hopes the association will continue hosting it annually. She said that the RHA tried to host a similar seasonal event last spring, but was unable to due to COVID-19 parameters.
“I’m really looking forward to reaching out to the residents, especially because things have been very different for students because of COVID,” Pickering said.
Freshman Cole Hess said he was able to check out the Rec Sports table as well as learn about the Political and Civic Engagement program. Hess and his friend were just beginning to decorate some of the succulents the RHA provided to guests at one of their tables.
“That’s all I’ve done so far, but there’s a lot more,” Hess said.
Fall Fest gave several campus organizations a platform to share their recent projects with the students there. Junior Kaitlin Scott, director of communications for IU Student Government, said she was there to spread the word about its upcoming Fall Town Hall and their Title IX Survey and gather feedback from students about what they’d like to see changed on campus.
Junior Kae Beckwith, team leader and marketing assistant for IU Recreational Sports, set up his table with stacks of SRSC pamphlets and stickers. He said he planned to promote a new mobile app by Rec Sports and share merchandise, such as water bottles and drawstring bags, with the students attending the festival.
“I’m hoping to connect with them more,” Beckwith said.
Beckwith said he thinks students should make the most of what IU’s sports facilities have to offer now that they’re open and accessible to everyone.
“Take advantage of your membership,” he said. “You automatically pay for it in your student fees. Go to the gym, it’s free.”