Students interact with local businesses at Community Fair
| Caitlin Martin reporter |
Walking through the Oval midday on Wednesday, Aug. 20, students saw tents and tables, heard music playing and smelled free food as local businesses, churches and volunteer groups had the opportunity to meet students at the annual Community Fair.
“I think it’s helpful,” said Marce Woods, sophomore in physical education. “[I like] receiving free stuff.”
The event is put on by the Campus Activities Center with the organization’s assistant director, Eva Sager, spearheading the coordination of businesses and booths.
“We really feel that it is important for our students to be aware of what is available in the community, whether it is businesses, church groups or service organizations,” Sager said. “We want them to be able to utilize the resources in our community as best as they can.”
Businesses were giving away pens, water bottles, stress balls, drawstring bags, T-shirts and other items sporting their business name to spread awareness of their company throughout the community.
Many students took advantage of the free snacks and drinks on their way to classes. Booths offered chances to enter drawings for prizes larger than the freebies, such as iPads, beauty baskets and other items. Though it is fun to be handed free gifts, theses prizes serve the purpose of growing the customer base for the businesses, says Cristina Hamilton of Salon 9.
“We like to give away free stuff. It’s fun,” Hamilton said. “Every single year, we pass out some kind of coupon or freebie or something, and we always have a huge turnout of people coming back … and redeeming coupons.”
Although the purpose of the Community Fair is to expose students to the resources in the community, the event is also a good time for businesses to get together and network with each other, said classic rock radio station URock 99.1’s account executive, Ryan O’Toole. It is rare for all of the community leaders and business owners to be in one place at the same time.
But the event was mainly for students, says Sager.
“My favorite part I think is just getting to see our students interact with our community,” she said. “A lot of them, especially the new students, don’t realize how much some of these people are going to impact their lives over the next couple of years, and some of those relationships will start today, which is really neat.”
For students, the Community Fair is an opportunity to get more familiar with the businesses and organizations in the area.
Ashley Henley, junior in biology, can attest to that.
“[I like] getting to learn about all the local shops and things because I’m not from around here,” Henley said. “This is my third year [in Pittsburg], and I still haven’t explored very much, so it’s nice to get to know what’s there.”