On Friday, September 8, 2017, the Miron Student Center (MSC) Operations and Event Management office had student groups and organizations gather around for Kean Day. This year, competition struck among the students to have the best table on campus.
In previous years, Kean Day was just a normal day for students to introduce, represent and promote their clubs to other students who are not involved with an organization or group. This year, the MSC Operations and Event Management office decided to spice things up with a table contest.
Each group was asked to decorate their table like a float in a parade. Besides incorporating their club's persona and constitution into their layout of their float, they had to follow a Caribbean carnival theme.
With that being said, a lot of groups found this challenge to be interesting. The group and their table were judged on their presentation, originality, interaction with students, attire and how well they incorporate their organization's mission with that of Kean University.
Cougar Walk and other parts of the campus were full of life and involvement. New students, whether they were transferred or freshmen, were captivated with tables of their interest. By the end of Kean Day, many students had their name on a sign-up sheet for some group.
From 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., students learned a lot from this event. Whether it was finding a club they never thought Kean offered or finding an organization that will help their major, students added a little spice to their college life.
Around 2 p.m. representatives from the MSC Operations and Event Management office walked to each table and asked about each and every organization. Not only did groups have to present themselves, but they had to include what they do and how it fits as a Kean University student group.
By 3:30 p.m., the results came in and the winners of the contest were announced.
Coming in first place, the Haitian Student Association (HSA) attracted students, faculty and staff with their promotion of the Caribbean vibe.
"We set out to promote, as best as we could, our country, which is located in the Caribbean," said Carl Cazeau, junior biology major and secretary of HSA. "With this idea in mind, we reached out to local artists and personnel who could help us for that event. With their help, our executive board and the members, we were able to represent the organization and meet the theme of the day."
Their float was unique because they put all of their pride and culture in their table. The music, the colors and the joy to celebrate came natural to them, so decorating their float almost came as their second nature.
The IMPACT Apostolic Club came in second place after following a Christian based theme, "The Fishers of Men."
"As a Christian based club, we wanted to choose something that corresponds with our identity and that still somehow identifies with the concept of Kean," said Nia Questel, junior English literature major and secretary of IMPACT Apostolic Club. "In the Bible, Peter, a disciple of Jesus found himself going back to his main trade, fishing. When Jesus found him, he told Peter that he would make him a 'fisher of men'. He would go out into the world and preach and teach the Gospel and symbolically 'fish for men' to spread the news of Jesus."
Including their sea themed table cloth and a humongous boat that housed scriptures and motivational messages, they had a cupcake tower through which they handed out free mini cupcakes that were blue and had Swedish fish on them.
"This message is relatable to us because we feel the same way about Kean, " Questel continued. "We were sent to reach people and change the world like Peter and the Apostles but, for our school while we are here, this is our current fishing spot. The theme is somewhat similar to Kean: they teach us and we go out and reach/teach the world."
Last but not least, Filipinos Uniting Nations at Kean (FUNK) came in third place with their table. They were able to show off their Kean pride by decorating their table with Kean paraphernalia and props they owned.
"Originally, we were planning to design a Jeepney on our table. A Jeepney is like a bus, they are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They are known for their crowded seating and kitsch decorations, which have become a ubiquitous symbol of Philippine culture and art," said Natasha Benosa, junior therapeutic recreation major and secretary of FUNK.
Sean Cruz, junior economics major and vice president of FUNK, added, "However, with little time of preparation, we continued to represent our table at Kean Day with props instead. We designed our table with our FUNK banner and poster board, which contained pictures introducing our e-board and club representing the kind of events we do. Alongside we displayed our previous apparel such as windbreakers, crew necks and jerseys."
The top three winners of Kean Day's tabling contest do not only receive recognition for being the winners, but they also get monetary prizes towards their organization. First place receives $500 towards an on-campus event, second place wins $300 towards an on-campus event and $200 towards an on-campus event.
More than 100 student groups participated and competed against each other. Luckily, these three groups were able to top the Kean Day competition and brighten the event.
There are so many groups on campus that students can join, but every Kean Day is the day that groups can go all out and promote their club.
If students missed this year, there are always other opportunities to learn about student groups on campus or you can visit Cougar Link at http://cougarlink.kean.edu and explore all that campus life at Kean has to offer!