Fall Fest: A Student Affair by Mariah Brannan
// September 22nd, 2012 // Events
Fall Fest is an annual festival held at the start of each school year, designed for the all minority organizations and NPHC fraternities and sororities to invite potential new members to their respective organizations. Initially, the festival was geared to give freshman a chance to view a new side of Mizzou- a side not strictly academic, but one showing a more cultured dimension of Mizzou. From the perspective of a wide-eyed freshman meandering the crowd gaping at all the “movie-like” scenes, signs, and slogans this was more than another casual welcome.
Justin McCain, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the first black organized fraternity on campus, said Fall Fest is, “absolutely necessary.” As a senior, he has been on both sides of Fall Fest- the inquiring and often times naïve freshman side, and the seasoned senior side. He feels it’s a great time for freshmen to get introduced to Black Greek life and gain more information about Mizzou organizations in a friendly laid-back setting.
The positivity trickles down to individuals even as young as preteens. Matthew Porter, 11, and Miles Gibson, 14, both members of the Boys and Girls Club, watched intently as Greek organizations stepped and strolled to show not only their pride for their group but the unity, love, and strength that each possessed. Eager to vocalize their opinion, four time participant Gibson said his favorite part of Fall Fest was step show. “It’s so entertaining and fun to watch. I can totally see myself coming to school here at Mizzou one day and joining a frat.”
The enthusiasm of such a young spectator shows anyone new to the experience how influential these organizations are both to the people who are involved in them and the fans alike. The impact that now comes with the Fall Fest territory has allowed the festival to expand its target audience. Originally, the festival catered only to the black Greek and organization life; now it opens room to residential housing like Aspen Heights, “a housing community with a Mizzou student mind,” and to new organizations that lack the legacy of Greek life, but contain the common goal of unifying and helping the Mizzou community. Taking another glance at this assembly of cultured students, someone new to this collegiate way of life can’t leave Fall Fest thinking it was just another step show or some amplified welcome. Carnahan quad turned into a place filled with opportunity of what one can obtain for the duration of the college experience.
Honestly, I think Nathan Stephens, Senior Coordinator of the Black Culture Center (BCC), said it best, “Fall Fest provides minorities maximum exposure through a bigger, more diverse, and larger variety of minority organizations, greek life, and businesses.” Simply speaking, Fall Fest was and still is a tradition of the life, spirit, culture, hard work, and legacy of the minority community at Mizzou.
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