A new set of experiences await incoming freshmen at Fort Hays State


Renamed "First 40 Days," the period of welcome, orientation and engagement for incoming freshmen at Fort Hays State University, formerly called AugustFest, will now be six weeks instead of four and will come with an added challenge.

"Research shows that the first six weeks are most crucial for the transition," said Brett Bruner, director of persistence and retention.

Starting on the first day of classes, Monday, Aug. 18, until Saturday, Sept. 27, freshmen are challenged to attend six of the roughly 120 campus events. Students can attend the back-to-school picnic, get a free BBQ dinner after parading to Main Street, sip coffee while engaging in conversation with university faculty and local employers, hear past tales of campus from Tiger alumni, volunteer to paint houses for the elderly and disabled, run a 5K, see live magic by the winner of NBC's television show "Phenomenon," or participate in one of the many other opportunities.

"What I find most exciting about First 40 Days is having something fresh and new," said first-year experience student coordinator Cristal Navarro. "Another interesting aspect is that we have added tracks to First 40 Days."

The "tracks" emerged from Bruner and Navarro's study of practices at other institutions in helping freshmen adjust from living at home to living on campus. They chose five core areas -- the tracks -- to focus on and then tailored them to FHSU.

The challenge encourages students to attend one event from the academic and cultural track, the hallmark track, the leadership track, and the personal development and community track, and two events from the social track. Students will receive points for completing the challenge as a core requirement of freshman seminar.

First 40 Days will kick-off with the Back-to-School Picnic, 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 18, on the Quad. A poster sale and more than 100 local businesses, non-profits and student organizations will have booths and displays. A BBQ pork and beef dinner will be served at $7 a plate (FHSU students can use their TigerCards). The Back-to-School Picnic is sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement, the University Activities Board, Chartwells, Hays merchants, Commerce Bank and the Memorial Union.

For the second annual Core2Campus event, a developing tradition, from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, students will meet at 5:30 p.m. on the Quad to March to Main, visit businesses and collect raffle tickets for the chance at a $500 cash prize or gift cards to downtown businesses. The first 500 FHSU students, faculty and staff with Tiger ID card will get a free BBQ meal.

Other major events of the First 40 Days:

Invest in Your Future: Mug Run in the Tiger Place Complex, from 8 to 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 31, is for social coffee drinkers. Students can join university staff and local employers to learn about their paths to success and get advice on reaching goals. Students can bring their own coffee mugs and fill up on free coffee and a continental breakfast.

A multi-generational panel of Tiger alumni will discuss traditions of their eras and explain how those events shaped their experiences as a student during Tiger Tales: Tiger Traditions Alumni Panel in the Robbins Center's Eagle Communications Hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Volunteers of Hays Paint-a-Thon will paint the houses of elderly and disabled citizens within the community starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13. Students can sign up to volunteer at www.tigersinservice.com or by calling 785-628-5537. Hays Paint-a-Thon is sponsored by Tigers in Service.

The third annual Light in the Dark 5K Run/Walk begins at 8:20 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, on the Memorial Union patio and is open to students, faculty, staff and members of the community. Participants receive a glow-in-the-dark T-shirt, and glow necklaces and bracelets to wear for the run. Registration forms can be picked up at the CTC HelpDesk in Tomanek Hall, room 113, or at the Center for Student Involvement in the Memorial Union, room 014. Registration deadline is Wednesday, Sept. 3, to be guaranteed a T-shirt, but late registration is accepted. The cost is $20 per person or $50 for a team of four. Proceeds educate students about pro-life issues and sponsor pro-life speakers. The 5K is sponsored by Students for Life.

Mike Super -- Magic Illusion will perform live in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center of Sheridan Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23. Super is the winner of NBC's hit television show "Phenomenon" and is the only magician in history to win a live magic competition on primetime television. Admission is free. Super is sponsored by the University Activities Board.

A PDF of the full schedule is available through the Welcome Programs link on the page at www.fhsu.edu/fye.

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