10 things you can do on the weekend

Daniel Bott

College is supposed to be an experience when one grows and matures as a human being. Students undertake various academic endeavors — for example, argumentative prose writing — designed to make them more intelligent and worldly human beings capable of the finest endeavors in our fair society.

That may be true for the weekdays (well, some of them), but it is not true for the weekend. I doubt I’ll be looking back reminiscing about the weekdays when I leave.

So in the spirit of the weekend, I have compiled a list of 10 things to do on the weekend.

To be honest, when the Stater asked me to write about 10 things to do on the weekend, I was tempted to list 10 bars. To protect my journalistic integrity, however, I asked a couple of students what they do on the weekends in the hope that between us, we could come up with something.

In hindsight, asking two of my drinking buddies probably wasn’t the wisest choice, but to my surprise, Erin Wilson, junior human development and family studies major, and Diane Clasper, senior fashion design major, two hell-raising ladies if ever there were any, had spent a few weekends away from the bars. So here is our list of things to do.

1. Be a kid again

If you like theme parks, head to Geauga Lake and Wild Water Kingdom in Aurora.

Geauga Lake has more than 50 rides and attractions, with the Steel Venom seeming to be one of the favorites. Regular tickets are $24.95.

If the weekend is especially hot, head to the Wild Water Kingdom for waterslides. It’s about a 30-minute drive from campus. During the fall, it’s open only on the weekends, and you better get there quickly because it will be closed after Sept. 16. For more information, visit Geauga Lake’s Web site at www.geaugalake.com.

2. Support your team

There are a variety of sports teams at Kent, and one of the first big sports events of the semester will be football. So maybe we didn’t have the greatest season last year, but it’s still a fun day out.

On game day, buses leave for Dix Stadium from the student center and a few other stops. These are often crowded, though, so if you can drive this is probably a better option. Best part is, with your student ID, you’re in for free.

The biggest game of the year is against the Akron Zips. Yelling out such phrases as “Go Flashes,” “You suck, Akron,” “Go Kent,” and “Akron girls are ugly” will have you instantly embraced.

While football might be one of the first sports of the year, there are plenty of others to come. Our basketball teams are usually unstoppable, so head out to the M.A.C. Center to watch them play.

And don’t just focus on the men’s teams. “The girls’ games are fun too,” Wilson said.

So get out and watch the women’s field hockey, soccer, gymnastics, softball and volleyball teams, too.

3. Lose some weight

For all you freshmen out there, be warned: If you party hard and stuff yourself with such culinary delights as Eastway’s pizzas every lunchtime and Taco Bell at 2:30 a.m., eventually the dreaded Freshman 15 will hit you like a punch in the face.

Fortunately there is a solution. Take that newly widened behind of yours to the Recreation and Wellness Center for a workout. Head up Summit Street past the library until you get to Ted Boyd Street.

Some of the features in the center include a climbing wall, a cardiovascular fitness area, weight room, sports arena, multi-purpose gym and racquetball and hardball courts. Just take your student ID and work off that extra weight.

4. Get back to the greenery

Towner’s Woods, Tinker’s Creek and the Nelson/Kennedy Ledges are all only a short drive from Kent.

Towner’s Woods is a naturally diverse 175-acre area that has been enjoyed as a county park for almost three decades. It has a picnic table, a gazebo and an trail that is great for hiking and nature observation.

Tinker’s Creek also offers trails for you to get back to nature. So stroll through the wetlands and head to the observation deck that gives spectacular views.

At the Nelson/Kennedy Ledges, you can check out the scenery while hiking, picnicking or sightseeing. Do a search through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Web site (http://ohiodnr.com/) for details.

5. Get on the water

West Branch is a reservoir that was developed for flood control, water supply, recreation and fish and wildlife management. It is extremely popular with fishermen, boaters and swimmers and is about 30 minutes from Kent. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Web site should help you here, too.

West Branch is great for camping, hiking, picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing, horseback riding and cross country skiing in the winter.

Graduate student and knowledge management major Gautam Gupta, a recent visitor to the area, described it as a “wonderful place, there’s a beach, you can canoe, go camping . . . mountain biking.” Gupta recommended it for a weekend away.

6. Music

There are a variety of live music venues in Kent. The ECC bar downtown and the Rathskeller in the Student Center have a lot of live local bands. If you want your DJs, try Mugs or Fat Jimmy’s.

If you’re keen for a larger venue, try the Kent Stage downtown. Numerous award-winning artists, including Joan Baez, have visited this establishment. Co-owner Richele Charlton said they have “folk, blue grass, rock, British invasion, jazz, Americana. and may have comedy acts in the future.”

Co-owner Tom Simpson said the stage tries to stay away from “commercial stuff” and is “very committed to local artists.” So if you’re into American Idol or “glorified karaoke,” as he put it, you’re in the wrong place. Ticket prices vary, but they are almost never sold out.

7. Improvise

While the first year of college can be a bit daunting at first, remembering that you are certainly not alone will keep you in good stead. As Clasper put it, “Get a bunch of people together, if it’s a nice day go outside, throw a Frisbee, play baseball, football, whatever.”

Basically, get a group together and do something. There’s plenty to do on and around campus — all you need is a little motivation.

Kick a soccer ball around, head to the beach volleyball courts, pretend you’re a sophisticated coffee drinker at Starbucks or head to play putt-putt golf on state Route 59. There’s a batting cage there, too, for all you softball and baseball fans.

Go for a shopping expedition at some of Aurora’s premium outlets. Apparently Beachwood Place Mall has some fashionable stores worth visiting as well.

Join one of Kent’s many activist groups. If you’re somewhat conservative, join the latest right-wing nut job cause, something like “Gun rights for embryos!” Or if you’re more liberal, join the latest left-wing bleeding heart liberal cause, say, “Land rights for gay flowers.”

8. Fashion

For students interested in fashion, Kent State has an award-winning fashion school and museum encompassing American and European high fashion from the 18th century to the present day. Ongoing gifts from firms such as Calvin Klein keep the collection current.

The Museum is located inside Rockwell Hall and you’ll need your ID to get in. Clasper recommended seeing one of Kent’s fashion shows, which cost around $10 to get in.

9. Go to the theater

“Meet up with some friends, go out, catch a movie, get some dinner and go the bars,” was a good suggested night out from Wilson. At the movie theater in the University Plaza, all the latest releases are available and are rarely sold out.

For those who are into plays and dance, check out a Kent State production. The School of Theatre and Dance puts on regular productions throughout the year. Check out its Web site at www.theatre.kent.edu.

10. Go to the bars

Apologies to the non-drinkers, but let’s be honest here, for many students, college is about learning a variety of new skills. Some of these involve holding your friends’ hair out of the toilet while they puke, drinking strangely colored concoctions and attempting not to be arrested while publicly urinating. At least that’s how I see it.

And some of these skills may be learned from trips to bars. For those who are neither 21 years of age, but are over 18, there are some bars where you can get in. The Brew House Pub, Fat Jimmy’s, Screwy Louie’s and the newly renovated Robin Hood Inn are a few.

They all play a wide variety of music, have dance floors and some even serve food. Jimmy Tribuzzo, owner of the Brew House Pub, said there’s a happy hour from 4 to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday and 50 percent off all sandwiches and drinks at the bar.

But how do you get there? If you’re heading out late, it’s probably easiest to catch the PARTA “downtowner” bus, which is free with your student ID and leaves from the Student Center, Eastway and the Music and Speech building. It will take you to Campus Book & Supply, which is near the Robin Hood Inn and the corner of Water and Erie streets.

For those over 21, there are other good bars to venture to for a good night. When Clasper was asked which bar had the best “good-looking people to ugly people ratio” Ray’s seemed to do well. Glory Days offers a somewhat mellow surrounding. Zephyr is good for all the artsy folk, frustrated musicians and wannabe hippies out there; it’s a good place to discuss the pros and cons of various Eastern religions over a game of backgammon. BW3 is great for any sports nuts out there who want to discuss the pros and cons of LeBron James’s contract for hours.

Daniel Bott is a junior newspaper journalism major. Contact him at [email protected].