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Asbury’s back-to-school activities build community

From staff reports

Though summer still lingers in heat waves and tan lines, Asbury University kicked off the Fall 2019 semester this week with events to welcome returning classes back to campus and help new students get involved in Asbury’s community.
The university hosted its annual Activities Fair on Thursday, where students got to interact with representatives from 75 different organizations. The booths were operated by local businesses, university clubs and 18 local churches.
The Fair featured a 20-hammock ladder, fresh-grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, free Ale-8 and horses that wandered through the crowds. Atop one such horse was Rachel Darr representing the Service Mounts Club.
“It definitely gives us some visibility bringing the horses down here and getting people to sign up and talk to everyone about what the group is about,” Darr said. The horse also seemed to enjoy meeting all the new people gathered around.
The annual event is geared towards all students, but often serves as a way for new freshmen to get involved with the university and the city of Wilmore as a whole.
“This is a great way to find places to serve in the community, get involved at Asbury and meet other people who have common interests,” Heather Tyner, director of student engagement said.
This back-to-school tradition has been a great way for new students to build community for more than 10 years. However, the Activities Fair isn’t the only way the university helps students get involved with their new community. On Sunday, Asbury held its annual Back to School Bash for all new and returning students.
Dance music and live bands played out over Reasoner Green as students laughed, made root beer floats and competed in a variety of games set up by university staff. This was the first time that all four classes of the 2019-2020 academic year were in one place, and for many returning students it was great chance to meet up with friends they hadn’t seen over the summer.
“I’ve met a lot of my friends that I’ve had for a while here, and I’ve been reconnecting a little bit with them,” Austin England said over the music.
Out of all the games and activities on the Green, none drew out the competitive spirit quite like volleyball, which attracted a cheering crowd of onlookers as the night went on. Daxin Jin and Haden Hebenstreit stood among the crowd, waiting eagerly for their chance to jump in. Hebenstreit took a minute to talk about his game plan before going into the game.
“I think it’s a good strategy to make sure the ball doesn’t hit our side,” Hebenstreit said. “It really increases our chances of winning.”