WU Fest fall 2020

On August 18, campus-wide organizations joined the hunt for new members across the lawn of Memorial Union.

Emma Barger talked with passion about Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. She has been a member for several years. (Jason Morrison)

Washburn University’s kickoff into the fall semester encourages incoming freshmen to join a wide variety of groups and meet new people.

Facilitators with a microphone, above the Memorial Union lawn, spread messages of social distancing and general safety in a crowd of students and staff. Chief of Washburn Police, Chris Enos serves as a facilitator of Washburn’s regulations and promoter for the Washburn Police Department.

“A lot of first year students don’t even know that there is a police department here,” Enos said. “We like to come out and engage with students, just letting them know we’re here and make sure they know we are here to help. And to get some cotton candy.”

Many organizations desire to spread awareness, gain volunteers, and to spread their beliefs and values, reaching a wider community of like-minded individuals.

President of the Topeka Branch NAACP, Darcella Goodman and Secretary Beverly Hall display their banner: ‘Hate is Poison’ across the table to spread the presence of the NAACP in Topeka.

“The presence of the NAACP in any city,” Goodman said. “helps people realize that justice is important for everyone. It will always be important.”

Hall pitches an idea for Washburn students to become involved with the NAACP.

“I think we need a Washburn college chapter,” Hall said. “We had one many years ago and it would be nice if we could get some Washburn students to form a chapter. In partnership with the NAACP, we would give them leadership and mentorship. It would be nice if we could start one up for 2021.”

The annual WU Fest event encourages inclusion and involvement at the start of a new school year.

Senior Vice President of the Washburn University College Republicans, Jake Nordhus markets his organization as a way to meet new people, make friends, and share similar values.

“We’re here to promote the Republican party on campus,” Nordhus said. “To make a prediction, I think Trump is going to win by more than he won against Hillary. The polls are already closing in.”

Now, it is up to Washburn students to decide how they want to be involved at the school. For all students and staff, many have taken the necessary precautions to stay safe for the remainder of the school year. Junior mass media student, Victor Ramirez voices his concern of uncertainty, but hopefulness of the future.

“I think that Washburn has done an amazing job thus far with trying to prevent and take as many procedures as possible to prevent an outbreak,” Ramirez said. “Unfortunately, it only relies now on the students to do their parts. But if everyone is not into it, it all kind of just falls apart. We can only hope at this point, you know?”

Edited by: Joelle Conway, Shelby Spradling