Ichabods at Night

Matthew L. Self

For the past several years an event known as Ichabods at Night has been giving high school seniors the opportunity to visit Washburn’s campus and spend the night at one of the many residence halls or Greek housing and find out what it’s like to live on campus for a day. This unique opportunity is filled with fun events to inspire would-be attendees to apply for Washburn University such as activities involving Washburn Students and their high school shadows as well as trips to exciting events around Topeka.

This year’s Ichabods at Night saw a total of 14 high school seniors from local schools attend the event with their student hosts who live on Washburn’s campus. The event began at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 as the students were paired with their hosts on campus who proceeded to show the high school students what it’s like to be a Washburn student. Shortly afterwards, the students were treated to a free dinner at Lincoln Dining hall before being given the option of attending the Washburn Women’s Soccer team vs. Emporia game or exploring campus.

The event continued at 7:00 p.m. when students went to the local pumpkin patch at Gary’s Berries. Students got to take part in the festivities which included the notable attractions at the fall festival: the corn maze, campfires, s’mores and a fireworks display. The students were bussed out to the pumpkin patch and back to Washburn around 10:00 p.m. where they broke up into small groups for free time before heading back to the residence halls or Greek housing for some rest.

The following day the planned events continued into Saturday morning with a pancake breakfast at 9:00 a.m. that was sponsored by the Washburn Residential Council. At 9:30 a.m. the students broke up for free time and a chance to explore the SRWC on campus. The students were able to take one last look at Washburn’s campus before they had to check out of the event at 11:00 a.m. The high school students were given the option of staying on campus to watch the Washburn vs. Emporia football game before finally heading home for the weekend.

The many fun activities provided by Washburn for the enjoyment and entertainment of its visitors this weekend goes to show how appreciative Washburn is of those high school students who are considering a higher education at Washburn. Nicole Vavra, a member of Washburn’s administration department and the planner of the event, listed off some of the many reasons as to why the Ichabods at Night program has such a great importance to Washburn.

“We want them to have a really great experience here at Washburn so that they can see what it’s like to be on campus but also to be with students who are here right now to see the outside of the classroom and a typical day,” said Nicole Vavra. “This is an exciting experience for many high school students who don’t get to see campus life during a regular campus visit or at an Ichabod senior day.”

“I think that the students are, hopefully, more likely to attend Washburn after an event like this because they’re able to see behind the scenes of what life like a Washburn student would look like and getting to spend some unscheduled time with current Washburn students in the residence halls or in their Greek chapter houses. That’s where conversations happen that really share why current students chose Washburn. The high school students are really able to connect with the current students more so than they would with staff members.”

“I really enjoyed getting to see campus in a more personal way and learning about it from the students, not a teacher or PowerPoint,” said Keta Ewing, a senior from Lawrence, Kansas. Ewing attends Insight School of Kansas, a statewide public online school.

To sign up, high school seniors must fill out a registration form at least two weeks prior to the scheduled time of the event and have a student host on campus who is willing to house them. Aside from filling out a registration form, high school students need only bring some bedding for their stay in one of the residence halls or Greek chapter houses and they’re all set. Washburn University will pay for both dinner and breakfast the next day and sponsor some events such as the trip to Gary’s Berries where they bussed out the students together.

This is a great opportunity for campus residents to show what it means to be an Ichabod and what it’s like to live on campus on a not so ordinary day at Washburn. Even if the students attending the event may not be fully committed to Washburn, this is still a wonderful time to introduce high school seniors to college life.