Opinion: Take advantage of student festivals

Carlyle Addy is a sophomore journalism major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Carlyle Addy

If this time next year you’re thinking of signing up to help with a group at the Black Squirrel Festival, do it. It will probably live up to or exceed all of your expectations. I was the one dancing behind the Humanist Society booth, so I would know.

There are some obvious drawbacks. Most of the people who pass by your table won’t even look at it. A lot of people will stop, read the sign, occasionally roll their eyes and then walk away. Everything on your table will blow away. Because the plaza is always windy, that wind will wreak havoc on anything on your table that is lighter than a rock.

Of course, as tables start to pack away, there’s an ever-increasing desperation to attract passers-by, who no longer have to come close to your table because they aren’t being pushed by the narrow line of traffic.

Even with all of that to work around, it can be a fun experience. You get to call people out. If someone is walking alone and looking lost, you can shout at them and wave and be a friend. That’s of course, if your sick dance moves don’t intimidate them.

You can also drive-by drop-off flyers to other tables. That way, you can be productive and represent your group, but also meet some new people and learn about the groups you’re interested in.

You also get to meet new people. If you think you know Kent, you don’t. Almost none of the people that stop by will be ones you’ve ever seen before, and some of them you might never see again. You get to know whatever organizations are next to you. The Humanist Society table was next to Hillel and I’m That KSU Girl.

If you’re not a social person, that’s fine too. Hold the papers, smile at people, point to your partner and watch your email list grow. Groove to the music and watch that guy who breakdances.

Pose funny for the dozen people with cameras who take your picture and don’t show it to you and for the one photographer who does offer to let you see how it turned out. If you want to feel really helpful, stand across the plaza and point at your table until people start to go in that direction.

If you’re going to work the Black Squirrel Festival, or any other similar campus event, figure out where your table is ahead of time and pre-determine if weather will be an issue. Set up your schedule at least a week
in advance, especially if the group you’re representing is only a small rebel force. Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone who might potentially stop by. 

Carlyle Addy is an author for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].