Community vendors were spaced out around the Pitt State Oval to greet students and welcome them to the community.
The Community Fair was held on Monday, Aug. 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Oval.
“I hope that students who attend have either a new or renewed interest with what’s going on in the Pittsburg community,” said Eva Sager, associate director for Campus Activities. “It’s hard to be a student, staff or faculty member at Pitt State and not be a part of the Pittsburg community.”
Although the fair is a longstanding event, this year how it took place looked different. In accordance with state and local guidelines for COVID-19 as well as for the health and safety of those who attended, additional safety precautions were taken in how the event was planned.
“So, some of the big extremes you’ll see are the spacing out of tables,” Sager said. “Normally, we would try to centralize things to make it a little bit easier for traffic flow… But this year we really worked to expand that table spacing out, so people could interact and if there’s a line formed at the table, they’re still able to distance. Obviously, the masks are a big change for people. Some people brought hand sanitizer or there are several large stands of hand sanitizer stationed around the tables as well.”
This year, there were 26 different vendors at the fair. Those present included health care services such as Via Christi and the Freeman Health Center, various churches, public services such as Short’s Trash Removal, beauty salons and several on-campus organizations.
Eli Lindsey, the youth and college pastor at FLAG Church, attended at a booth representing FLAG Church.
“We wanted to get our name out there and get an opportunity for the students to know that there’s a place for them, that we love them, that there’s a place we want to give to them, so they have community, especially when you come to a new environment,” Lindsey said.
It was the church’s first year as vendors at the fair, and they hoped to make genuine connections with the students who visited their booth.
“I hope they feel an authentic connection… and that we’re genuine people,” Lindsey said. “Not just people out here to make our church bigger or to look like we’re good people or anything but that they would feel a genuine connection with us…”
Pitt State’s ROTC also had a booth where Wesley Jameson, junior in biology with an emphasis in premed, was talking to students about the program.
“We’re getting the word out, a lot of people don’t know about the program,” Jameson said. “For myself, whenever I was coming in as a freshman, I had no idea what the ROTC was coming in. And if it hadn’t been for people reaching out to me, I would never have had the opportunity, and now I’m getting my school paid for.”
The ROTC has a booth every year where Jameson says he hopes students “join and realize they love it…” like he did.
Ashley Strickholm, senior in elementary education, attended the event after seeing emails about the event and posters for it. Strickholm was glad the university still held the event despite COVID-19.
“I think it’s great they still have events because it gives people a sense of a little bit of normalcy and still makes it feel like a community still, even in these crazy times,” Strickholm said.
Sager hopes the fair helped those who attended feel a stronger connection to Pittsburg.
“So, I hope they had a good experience and that maybe they learned something new or got a cool discount but also that they’re encouraged to want to be connected and make this home and not just a place they’re visiting,” Sager said.