Walk core to experience
By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
Black and gold filled Main Street as hundreds of students marched from the Fort Hays State University Quad to the heart of downtown.
The second annual Core2Campus took place Thursday night as a way to connect the university to the city.
"I'm thankful to have this wonderful opportunity to solidify the family of FHSU with the family of Hays, America, because at the end of the day, we're one," said FHSU President Mirta Martin. "We're committed to making this relationship even stronger."
Led by Martin and Mayor Henry Schwaller IV, the students marched down Eighth Street to Main accompanied by the marching band, cheerleaders and city commissioners.
"The goal is to introduce students, faculty, staff and the community to all there is to do in downtown Hays," said Traci Stanford, executive director of the Downtown Hays Development Corp. "When you're coming to a new school, you want to feel welcome in the community. So we want to introduce them to everything there is to experience and make them feel welcome."
Brett Bruner, director of persistence and retention, worked on the Core2Campus committee to encourage first-year students to attend.
"A lot of students aren't really familiar with all Hays has to offer," Bruner said. "So we definitely try to be a collaborator in this process."
Core2Campus is part of the First 40 Days at FHSU. Students are encouraged to attend size events in various tracks. Core2Campus is part of the hallmark track, dedicated to helping students experience the cornerstone events at FHSU. Completion of the First 40 Days is a requirement of the freshman seminar course.
This is the first year the event is part of the First 40 Days.
"Some of the students didn't realize how close downtown was until they got there," Bruner said. "Since last year, a lot of the students have started going to restaurants downtown. It has elevated the conversation about downtown and the significance of downtown to FHSU."
Upper level university students also were encouraged to attend.
"We're hoping they'll fall in love with our community and want to stay in Hays after they're done with school," Stanford said. "It's a really cool experience to see all that Tiger black and gold fill the streets."
Senior Brandon Taylor, Student Government Association treasurer, helped lead the procession.
"This is a great event," he said. "It gives students a way to come down and find out what downtown Hays is really all about. A lot of people showed up for it, and I'm definitely looking forward to coming back as an alum in the future."
The entirety of Hays Academy of Hair Design also attended.
"It was a lot of fun," said Lexi Feik, HAHD student.