Lucky number seven

Erika Puch

The rec center anniversary

Alex McCue tries to peel himself off the sticky wall at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday. The event celebrated the Rec Center’s seventh anniversary and featured a magician, hypnotist, massages and games. AMANDA SOWARDS | DAILY KENT

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

The Student Recreation and Wellness Center celebrated its seventh anniversary the way many people would celebrate a birthday – with a party.

From 12 to 6 p.m. Saturday, the rec center opened its doors to the public. Guests, members and students participated in a variety of activities such as belly dancing demos, hot-shot basketball competitions and five-minute massages.

Unlike past years’ celebrations, this year’s anniversary event also featured a hypnotist, magician and comedian. Rec Center Marketing Director Paula Murray said the acts were brought in to appeal to the college crowd.

“I didn’t get to watch the hypnotist, but the magic show was great,” Murray said. “I love his (magician Rick Smith Jr.) shows.”

All of the shows were performed on the basketball courts inside the rec center. Crowds of students, members and guests gathered to watch.

Other events were focused on personal fitness and wellness. All in attendance were able to receive free wellness screenings, nutrition counseling and body composition tests. According to the rec center’s Web site, a single nutrition counseling session usually costs students $10.

Kent resident Bridget Stuntz brought her daughter and niece to the event after learning about the celebration through a flier her daughter received at school. Although this was not her first visit to the rec center, it looked different this time. Instead of the usually quiet mall area, visitors were welcomed with brightly-colored balloons and streamers.

“It is a great, free, family event,” Stuntz said. “Overall it has been a good experience.”

Stuntz said her daughter and niece spent the day getting their faces painted, jumping in the inflatable moonwalk, and taking pictures with Kent State’s mascot, Flash. The children were able to keep their pictures with Flash as a memento of the day.

With all the activities, many student rec center employees were busy at work.

Rebecca Fortune, junior business management major, spent the day face painting and serving pizza and cake.

“It has been really busy,” Fortune said. “A lot of people bring guests who aren’t members, so there have been a lot of new people.”

First-time rec center visitors could not only participate in the anniversary activities, but they also could try out the exercise equipment and tour the facility.

Murray said that the event usually draws in about 1,500 people. The number includes students as well as guests.

“We try to do this a couple of times a year,” Murray said about opening the rec center to the public.

Although the anniversary celebration is the largest event of the year, during Homecoming, the rec center allows guests from the community to enter the facility for free.

The event was sponsored by Gabriel Brothers and East of Chicago Pizza.

Contact student recreation and wellness reporter Erika Puch at [email protected].