You finally moved into your dorm, went to your first college classes, and made some new friends. Now what? If you’re a first-year college student at Sam Houston State University, you might be wondering, what people do for fun around here? Well, a lot!
The department of Student Activities at SHSU as well as several other departments host events on campus all year around for students. Not only that, but there is usually free food, entertainment, and prizes!
During Welcome Week, fun events are happening everyday on campus! On Wednesday, the 23rd, after a long day of classes, Student Activities will be hosting Casino Night in the LSC Ballroom from 6-10pm. Vendors bring in Black Jack tables, Texas Hold ’em, and Craps for students to play. Along with fun games there will also be a DJ. As students play games they win tickets, and put their tickets toward a drawing to win a prize.
“We give away prizes like TVs, mini fridges, dorm room packs with snacks, and lots of other things to use for your dorm room. You name it, we probably have it, even things like beats headphones.” Mekayla Perkins, president of program council said.
At the end of the party, Miss Sam Houston will draw the winning tickets. Free t-shirts will be given away while supplies last.
“It’s a lot of fun! Definitely a real casino feel with real equipment.” Perkins said.
Along with several other events during Welcome Week, “RecFEST” will be hosted by the Recreational Sports Center where students can explore the RSC, go out and enjoy free food and T-shirts, demonstrations, music and more.
Another popular event during Welcome Week is the Kat Comedy Showcase, a performance where students can enjoy performances from actors and standup comedians.
A few other fun events students don’t want to miss during Welcome Week are the Kats Meow Karaoke held in the LSC Kat Klub, free food at the at the Bearkat Picnic, Party in the Pit held in the Old Main Pit behind Austin Hall, Dinner and a Movie held by Program Council, Kat Club Bash and SHSU’s first volleyball and soccer games of the year.
Later in the fall, leading up to SHSU’s homecoming football game, the university and Student Activities will host Homecoming Week with different events such as the Homecoming Parade and Sam Jam Carnival. At the end of the week before the football game will be the Bearkat Alley tailgate party. Students will be voting for homecoming king and queen during this week as well.
The Homecoming Parade takes entries from students of floats, cars, or walking groups. The parade entries will be eligible for awards based on creativity, appearance, and spirit. The first-place winner will receive $1000, second place wins $500, and third place wins $250. The parade is a great opportunity for students, organizations, honored alumni, guests, and Huntsville businesses to celebrate Bearkat football and get involved. The Sam Jam Carnival will feature food and carnival-style games and rides.
At the end of October, during the week of Halloween, Student Activities and Program Council will let students “take over” the entire LSC building to celebrate Halloween. On each floor there are different attractions, games, prizes, food, and a costume contest.
“It’s really cool because everything we do is free.” Perkins said. “We are hoping to bring a lot of new attractions this year for the students. We have a wonderful new director of the building who we are teaming up with to bring some exciting new things.”
Near the end of the fall semester, before students go home for Christmas break, Student Activities hosts the Tree of Light Ceremony which is the oldest traditions on campus. A 50-foot tree including a 4-foot star will be placed in the middle of campus, where departments and organizations can make ornaments to put on the tree. During the ceremony, the SHSU Choral will sing carols, the Orange Pride Dance team will perform, and President Hoyt will speak and light the tree. Students can give back to the community during this event by participating in the canned food drive.
During the spring semester, there are even more events for students to look forward to. One of the most attended events on campus is the Sammy Palooza, a free concert for students hosted by the university. Since 2010 the university has invited special guests such as Ludacris, All American Rejects, Panic at the Disco, Eli Young Band, and more. The university puts out a Twitter poll for students to vote one which artists they would like to see. This is an event students don’t want to miss out on. Who knows what artists will be invited next?
Near the end of the Spring semester, the university hosts The Sammy’s, an award ceremony to honor faculty, staff, and students. There are about 30 different award recipients. Four individuals receive the Sammy award including two faculty and staff members, and two students. The types of students who are nominated for these awards are those who are highly involved in different organizations and volunteer to give back to the community.
There is a first-year student award as well for those who have a GPA of at least 2.5.
Seven college awards are also given to students from different SHSU colleges with GPA’s of at least 3.0
The department of dance, theatre, and musical theatre comes to perform a dance and musical at the ceremony. The awards themselves are of great value and are genuine crystal.
“We like to keep the element of surprise,” Kelly Patterson, Program Coordinator for the Department of Student Activities said. “The students know they’ve been nominated but they don’t know who won until that night.”
Even if students are not nominated for an award, they are invited to go to the ceremony to support their peers and enjoy the performances.
“It gives students an opportunity to support one another even if they’re not nominated, and to see performances from their fellow students,” Patterson said. “I wish that every bearkat could go at least once in their college experience because it is a really fun event.” Patterson said.
These are only a handful of events that happen on campus throughout the year. The department of Student Activities, Program Council, and several other departments at the university do their best to host events for students to get involved in, serve the community, and have fun during their college experience.