PHOTO CAPTIONS: Ferris State University’s 135th anniversary will be a facet of the celebration on Thursday, Aug. 29 when the Founders’ Day Extravaganza and Ice Cream Social is held on the Campus Quad. The event is part of Bulldog Beginnings, a schedule of gatherings and happenings over the first two weeks of the academic year.
Dozens of events and informational sessions arranged over a two-and-a-half week stretch will bring Ferris State University students, faculty and staff together with Big Rapids community members. Bulldog Beginnings kicks off the new academic year on Thursday, Aug. 22 and continues through Sunday, Sept. 8.
Ferris President David Eisler highlighted Founders’ Day, set for Thursday, Aug. 29, as a central component of the annual Bulldog Beginnings celebration. Eisler recognized this year’s event as particularly special as 2019 marks the institution’s 135th anniversary.
“Ferris State University has a wonderful legacy established by our founders, Woodbridge and Helen Ferris,” Eisler said. “Our Founders’ Day celebration provides the opportunity for the Ferris and Big Rapids community to come together to honor our founders, celebrate our past, present and future, and commemorate the legacy entrusted to us.”
Bulldog Beginnings launches on Thursday, Aug. 22 as Honors students access their residence halls, beginning at 8 a.m. North Quad residence hall students can check into their rooms starting at noon. East Campus Suites and West Campus Apartments can begin moving in on Thursday, Aug. 22. All students living in campus-operated housing need to begin that process at Wink Arena. Moved-in students and others will have activities later in the evening.
“We hope that anyone who likes live music will bring a blanket or folding chair, and join us at 7 p.m. that evening in the North Campus Quad,” Roman said. “Local student bands will perform, rain or shine and provide those attending a chance to meet up with friends they may have missed during the summer.”
On Friday, students living in the south and west campus areas can begin moving into their assigned residence halls at the designated times.
The first-weekend event highlights include the Bulldog Welcome, beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23 at Top Taggart Field, organized by Housing and Residence Life. Later, the Residence Hall Association-sponsored movie, “Avengers: Endgame,” will be shown at 9 p.m. in the South Quad.
“We are happy to partner with Housing and Residence Life and their hall directors for these programs,” Roman said. “It will also be a chance to show off the new surface on Top Taggart Field. We always enjoy a good response from our students for these events.”
Saturday, Aug. 24 features the return of Big Rapids SummerFest in the afternoon, downtown and the Meijer Back to College 2019 at the Perry Street outlet, from 7 to 9 p.m.
“The SummerFest was established in recent years and provides a good opportunity to get familiar with downtown businesses, and the people of Big Rapids,” Roman said. “Saturday wraps up with our annual UC Late Night, with free food, VR simulators, novelties and bingo competitions for some really great giveaways.”
Fall 2019 semester classes begin on Monday, Aug. 26. Roman said first-day programs of note include BEgin WELL in the Birkam Health Center, at 4 p.m., and the RecFest, at 6 p.m.
“It is important for students to know what resources are available to them, through the Birkam Health Center, and we encourage them to visit that afternoon, so they might have a healthy, happy experience on campus,” Roman said. “Those who want to take part in UREC intramural programs, learn about club sports opportunities, or just check out the Student Recreation Center can be informed and possibly win a prize that evening.”
Entertainment Unlimited welcomes comedian Jessi Campbell’s appearance on Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 9 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom. Roman said there are open house events during the first days of the semester, along with the Student Employment job fair Tuesday, Aug. 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the University Center ballroom.
“We are pleased to celebrate Ferris’ 135th anniversary along with the Big Rapids community on Thursday, Aug. 29, with the Founders’ Day Extravaganza and Ice Cream Social,” Roman said. “The football season will start a week later, but we are glad that Five-Star Registered Student Organizations and academic departments across campus are ready to celebrate the legacy of our founders, by entertaining and informing our students, with plenty of ice cream dished out to punctuate this event.”
The entertainment moves indoors on Friday, Aug. 30 with disc golf in the FLITE library, from 1 to 3 p.m., and students can skate at the Big Rapids Roller Rink for free, 10 p.m. to midnight. Roman said concessions will be available for purchase.
“Preregistration is required if students want to join us on a trip to Michigan’s Adventure Saturday, Aug. 31,” Roman said. “Our bus will head out from the University Center lot at 10 a.m. Participants will have snacks available and their ticket to enjoy the amusements and water park. Seats are limited, and we hope to provide participants a day of fun and memories.”
The 51st annual Labor Day Arts and Crafts Fair takes place at Big Rapids’ Hemlock Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 2. Roman said another community-focused event, Bulldog Bonanza, is Wednesday, Sept. 4 at the University Center and North Campus Quad from 4 to 7 p.m.
“The Bonanza gives our students a chance to see what is available to them through the scores of RSOs that will be on the North Quad and we are glad to partner with Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce businesses, so the Ferris community can tour the UC and learn more about what they offer,” Roman said. “The merchants will have product samples and all kinds of information can be gained that day.”
As Ferris’ football team opens its season on Thursday evening, Sept. 5, Roman noted a “Blues and BBQ” gathering is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event features live blues music and a tasty pregame meal on the North Campus Quad for those who purchase this package.
“We are happy to join with Ferris Athletics in the promotion of Community Night, as we offer this first-time event,” Roman said. “Hopes are high for another great season, and this will be a great way to get ready for kickoff.”
Roman further noted a technological upgrade with the addition of Bulldog Connect, which allows students to add their favorite Bulldog Beginnings events to their calendars.
“This is a new quick link option to the MyFSU portal, which allows us to improve upon engagement with students and others interested in our programs,” she said. “We believe they will be excited by this convenient opportunity to stay updated.”
The entire Bulldog Beginnings schedule can be viewed online and will offer links with purchase options for appropriate events.