Ferris State University’s new 34 million dollar University Center was a happening place Friday night as it celebrated its grand opening with a huge party for Ferris students including free food, giveaways, and plenty of fun activities.
“Our office was a big part of the event because we do all the activities on campus,” said Teresa Fogel, Student Activities Specialist in the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services (CLACS) Office. “There have been a lot of offices working together on it, but Nick Smith, our new Student Activities Coordinator, is the one that contracted everything we’ve got here: the DJ, the iExperia upstairs… We work with all of the student organizations. This event was sponsored by the VP’s office, the Division of Student Affairs, the President’s office—there were all kinds of people that were involved in this.”
In order to keep the event entertaining for students, all kinds of activities were planned. To familiarize students with the building, the CLACS office hosted a scavenger hunt for students to get hole-punches from various “stations” around the building to win a T-shirt featuring the University Center. Other activities included karaoke, wax hand molding, build-your-own-street sign, photo booths, Grocery Bag Bingo, free food and iExperia College Invasion, a rave-like event featuring acrobatics, dancing, and glowsticks.
“[The grand opening] was a good place to just go in the winter, since there aren’t many events during the winter,” said Ari LeBouef, sophomore early childhood education major. “It’s quite festive and there are a lot of people and everyone seems to enjoy it.” LeBouef’s favorite activity was the wax hand molding, in which students could make wax models of their hands in the position of their choice. LeBouef wanted hers to be shaped like a heart, but the molding did not turn out.
Another creative activity was a balloon artist station. Pedro Rossi, sophomore game design and digital animation student, commissioned a balloon hat shaped like one of the aliens from Toy Story. “I’m having a blast!” he said, proudly wearing his new headpiece.
Some students gravitated toward more “practical” activities, such as the Grocery Bag Bingo.
“[My favorite was] definitely Bingo,” said Mary Renne, junior accounting major. “They are giving away free groceries there if you get a Bingo and everything, so we played that for a while. It was super fun.”
Renne did not win anything, but her friends scored a Bingo and received a bag of groceries.
“I’m really enjoying [the event], said Renne. “I like it. We should have something like this every week. It’s really, really fun.”
The staff for the grand opening included many student volunteers working as greeters and guides. Andrew Klarecki, a sophomore plastics engineering major, was one of these volunteers.
“These are just regular students who chose to get together and volunteer for this event,” he said. “I chose to volunteer because I thought it would be a very cool opportunity to be a part of welcoming in this new building to the Ferris State University campus. I am pleasantly surprised about how much fun this is volunteering.”
Each floor featured a table from Ferris Catering as well as a popcorn machine and an ice cream sundae bar. The Quad Café, the University Center’s new dining facility, was also a featured attraction. The left side, an all you can eat -style dining hall similar to The Rock Café, was open for business as usual, while the right side, a food court-style area serving à la carte items offered free samples from each of its 5 venues.
“We’ve probably seen most students over the last few days since we’ve been open,” Lori Helmer, director of Dining Services, said before the event, “but we’re hoping to introduce the variety of offerings that we have here in the University Center from dining service enterprises to all students on campus so that they can really get a good ‘flavor,’ so to speak, of what we have to offer and get acclimated to the entire University Center space—and have fun! We’re gonna have fun.”
“I like how the University Center is set up,” commented LeBouef. “It’s very spacious. It’s a good place to come and sit and just relax with people and do homework. There are a lot of seating places.”
To learn more about the new University Center, visit their webpage at http://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/administration/studentaffairs/RC/index.html.