Playfair brings FHSU's new students together

Playfair 2016

08/19/16 local, state
By Randy Gonzales
University Relations and Marketing
HAYS, Kan. -- Marisol Regalado remembers what it was like to be a freshman at Fort Hays State University, and in her role as an orientation and welcome leader she is helping out this year's new students.

Regalado, a Liberal senior majoring in organizational leadership and Spanish, was lending a hand Thursday night at Lewis Field Stadium for Playfair, which is sponsored by University Activities Board and is part of Tiger Impact Fall Orientation Weekend. Playfair is a company which provides a team-building experience that FHSU uses to help new students bond and meet each other their first day on campus.

"The whole point of this is really about connecting students socially to each other," said Brett Bruner, director of transition and student conduct at FHSU. "We want them to not only feel at home with Fort Hays State University but also to find a new friend. They just moved in today. This is entirely designed to help them find a new friend."

Regalado remembered the positive impact Playfair had on her as a freshman.

"I loved it," she said. "I've always been an outgoing person. This was heaven to me. I got to meet all new friends the first day."

Regalado hopes this year's freshman and transfer students at Playfair have the same experience.

"I'm really excited for them," she said. "I hope they take as much away from this as I did, because you really do remember these people."

Juliana Ames, Prairie Village freshman, liked the experience.

"It was really cool," she said. "I think it helped all of the freshman class bond together."

Playfair facilitator Emily Andrews led the new students through a series of fun games and activities designed for them to get to know each other. By her estimation, she had already conducted Playfairs at FHSU about a half-dozen times before. It never gets old, said Andrews, who has been facilitating Playfairs for about two decades now, visiting more than a dozen college campuses each fall.

"There's new energy, new kids coming in," each year, Andrews said. "I get so excited for these new students coming in. For me, I want to infuse them, give them a fresh, new outlook."

"To me, they give me their energy and I give it back," she added. "It always feels so wonderful. I just love this."

Jared Craig, Cheney freshman, wasn't prepared for what happened over the course of two hours.

"I didn't anticipate it at all," he said. "I thought we were moving in and just were going to get acclimated to the atmosphere. I definitely talked to a bunch of people I never would have seen if I had just moved in today and stayed (in the residence hall)."

Andrews was off to Emporia State University next for a Playfair Friday night. Then she will fly to Bowling Green, Ohio, for a Playfair at Bowling Green State University. She said there are about 300 Playfairs being conducted throughout the country right now.

"I will zigzag pretty much all over the country," said Andrews, who lives in Santa Monica, Calif. "I will do this for as long as I can. I'm having a great time with this. The universe has brought me here and it just feels wonderful."

Andrews left FHSU's new students with one final thought, about the importance of community.

"If you had chosen not to come here, this community would not be the same -- your energy, your love," Andrews said. "I know it's been a crazy night. But you have built some friendships, seeking people out, finding things you have in common, and you learned to respect yourselves as well as each other.

"Remember to work hard, but above all always -- always in life -- play fair."

Back to top