Kent State sending merchandise boxes to new students


The box Kent State sends out to future Flashes containing a T-shirt, laptop decal and letter from President Beverly Warren. 

Connor Everett

Kent State will be sending out boxes of KSU merchandise to freshmen who register for Destination Kent State in an effort to promote pride in being a Golden Flash.

This is part of an ongoing tradition of sending out Kent State merchandise that began ten years ago, when the KSU orientation program was reformed to become DKS.

This year, the contents include a letter from President Beverly Warren, a decal for laptops or cars and a T-shirt. Each year’s shirt is unique to that class, and this year’s is gray with “Kent State” on the front in blue and gold lettering.

In the past years, incoming freshmen receiving their boxes sparked excitement on social media, with students posting images of their new apparel on Twitter and then attending DKS wearing it.

To Student Success Programs, the office responsible for the idea, as well as its director, Yvonna Washington-Greer, this excitement and pride was the end goal of DKS as a whole.

“Many of the students will wear their shirts to orientation,” Washington-Greer said. “It’s to give them some Kent State swag and to show that pride and get them excited about starting college.”

Washington-Greer said that this was all part of a plan set in place 10 years ago to turn Kent State’s orientation from an almost military-esque transactional event where students simply get ther ID, sign the papers, and get enlisted, to a celebration of Kent State that connects students to each other and to the institution.

In those days, orientation was over a longer period of time instead of the shorter event that students today are familiar with, with fewer students coming at the same time. This was a long process, considering 2009 saw over 6,000 freshmen admitted to Kent according to Institutional Research. The condensing of the event allowed students of a class to meet many more fellow new students, which could potentially form more connections.

Washington-Greer said KSU’s mascot, Flash, was nowhere to be seen. There was no singing of the alma mater. With all the necessary but uninterrupted paper signing, it was comparable to a trip to the bank.

A box containing a T-shirt, decal, and  letter may seem trivial at first, but when one thinks to how many times they’ve seen a student in an orientation shirt studying in the library or sitting in a lecture, it becomes possible that there is a sense of unity that rubbed off at some point.

Connor Everett covers recruiting and retention. Contact him at [email protected].