Current freshman at Kean University strutted their stuff during the college hour of Thursday, Feb. 8, as the School of General Studies hosted its coveted freshman social just before Valentine's Day. From 3:15 to 4:30 p.m., the "Pre-Valentines Welcome Back Social" consisted of an open mic on the stage of the Cougar's Den and young, inquisitive students mingling and reconnecting with old friends and peers met in the fall semester. New freshmen at the university were encouraged to attend the festivities as well.
Prior to the event, both fall and spring Transition to Kean (T2K) students had to register on Cougar Link for admittance into the program. Once allowed, students had the option of sporting a touch of pink or red that was reminiscent of the holiday's colors. The students who wished to perform on the stage that afternoon had to send an email to the official T2K email to let them know of their intentions.
Inside of the Cougar's Den, over 80 students filled the cafeteria room. One microphone stood in the center of the stage, with eyes of the young, intrigued students looking upon the performers. There were five performances, and, though each performance lasted five minutes, they all left an indelible mark on not just the students who watched, but on those who performed as well.
For the entire night, the event was hosted and emcee'd by Beyanka Wheatley, a radio host on Kean University's radio station, WKNJ 90.3 FM, and a fellow General Education Mentor (GEM). These mentors to the young freshmen were scattered around the crowd, although the freshmen stood out as the majority of the audience.
First up were two freshmen who performed their original rendition of the popular love song "Can't Help Falling in Love" with one student playing a ukulele in the background, which received a thunderous applause from the audience. Secondly, another freshman, Limule Recio, gave his acoustic versions of "Say You Won't Let Go" by James Arthur and "La Vie en Rose" by Louis Armstrong while also playing a ukulele.
Right after Recio left the stage, Farad Holmes-Wallace rocked the stage with an original rap song that brought the crowd to its feet. Students danced, jumped for joy and bobbed their heads back and forth to the beats and rhymes of the freshman's performance. Two additional on-the-spot performances were also presented to the audience, with one student getting on stage to sing the popular Justin Bieber song "Despacito" to the energetic group of freshmen. The other serenaded the crowd with a heartfelt and unique Latin song.
Performances were not the only fun asset of the day. The event also consisted of a variety of games to play in stations around the Cougar's Den dining area, such as "Pictionary", "Life-Size Connect Four", coloring and a game of "Guess How Many Lollipops" that were available to the students as they enjoyed the day of socializing. Moreover, different food choices, such as pizza, chocolate-covered strawberries, and brownies were all enjoyed by the attendees of this event.
Different prizes for winning these games consisted of Barnes and Noble Gift Cards, Valentines Day-themed gifts, headphones and earbuds.
The social was not just an opportunity for freshmen to meet each other or catch up on old times. It was an opportunity to give them more of an understanding of what the School of General Studies does for them. Students were able to schedule second meetings with their second semester GEMs at this event as well. This department's intentions for this afternoon were to continue to engage with freshmen and remind them that they are available to continue to serve as a resource to them, even if they have finished their T2K classes.
Nonetheless, freshmen who attended this social were given the opportunity to perform, mingle and rekindle with friends from a previous semester. For new freshmen, they were able to feel the love from their new classmates and get a feel for what their new school has to offer for them. This was a day to remember for the first-year students.