Spring Carnival flies to campus

Keene State College’s Student Government brings the annual Spring Carnival to campus

Tim Wagner / Student Life Editor

Puja Thapa
Administrative Executive Editor

Keeping the Keene State College (KSC) tradition alive, student government organized an adopted version of the annual Spring Carnival 2021 on May 14.

Associate Vice President of Student Engagement and Interim Student Government Adviser Jen Ferrell who has been at KSC for 16 years, said that the carnival tradition started around 2007/08. She explained, “It started with just some rides and on a sort of smaller scale. And then, over the years, it has grown into a sort of what we remember from a few years ago.”

According to The Equinox’s article published on May 1, 2019, the carnival provided rides like the scrambler, the Ferris wheel and the super slide, along with food and different stations put up by different classes.

The theme for this year was “Around the World.” Student Body President Davis Bernstein, who is also the co-chair for the student government events committee, said, “The theme is fitting since we’re on the back half of COVID; people are going to start traveling again. So we want to encourage that feeling of venture in a way since it has been a very tough year,” Bernstein shared that the theme was originally planned for the Spring 2020 Carnival, which got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

FOOD

 

Accompanying the event’s theme, the dining commons provided food menus from different parts of the world for all KSC students despite their meal plans. The DC team set up diverse food stations right outside the DC building representing places like Mexico, Morocco, Asia and Carolina (America).

Executive Chef Jacob Denning explained, “…For the Mexican-themed station, we have a housemaid chicken carnitas with lime & cilantro rice. For the South Carolina/North Carolina area, the American theme, we have an 18-hour braised pulled pork and braised jackfruit, which is especially the type of fruit that is a substitute for pulled pork. But it’s completely vegan. That is going with our house-made mac and cheese. Then we have a Moroccan-themed station with a chicken tagine and a vegetable tagine, both being served with couscous and both are gluten-free. And (for the Asian station), we’ve got beef and broccoli, tofu, broccoli, sautéed vegetables and just plain Basmati rice.”
Denning added that all the stations had vegan and gluten-free options. Denning said that the DC always attempts “to have a diverse theme.” The food section was one of the highlights of the carnival. Denning agreed, “Food is a big part of everything we do… I think to have an event like this as a community and not have food doesn’t make any sense.”

 

STATIONS

 

The event was stretched out in the Appian Way with multiple stations. There were stations for lava bead bracelets, sign making, blow-up carnival games, fishing boat games by Class of 2024, lawn games by Class of 2023, giveaway and sand art by Class of 2022, tie-dye and spin art frisbees by Class of 2021 and free carnival t-shirts. In addition, the Class of 2022 also brought Hula dancers to make the carnival more interactive and musical.

KSC sophomore Zara Hannigan said, “My personal favorite would have just been the Hula stuff that was just going on. We learned a whole bunch of dances, which is really cool.”

KSC first-years Emma Wheeler and Liz Winsor were tabling for the Class of 2024’s “fishing boat game” station. Class of 2024 representative Wheeler said, “It was super fun to see everyone’s faces when they won something. We were giving out air pods and a speaker, which is really fun. And everything was gone within the first 45 minutes.”

 

COVID SAFETY

 

According to the KSC COVID dashboard on May 11, there were 56 active reported COVID cases at KSC. President Treadwell sent out an email on May 6 regarding COVID restrictions on campus. You can read more about it in The Equinox’s article published on May 12, 2021. Due to a notable decrease in positive test results, the restrictions were lifted on May 12.

Bernstein assured that there was no risk at the event. He explained, “We wouldn’t have held it if we thought there was [risk]. It’s completely outside. And the risk of the spread of COVID is diminished a lot when you are outside, especially with masks on. It’s virtually improbable that people catch COVID between each other. Tables are being sanitized. And food is, of course, probably our safest station. And the school also is in support of this, of course, also wouldn’t have been able to happen.”

Ferrell said, “Since we’re outside, and with all these different precautions in place, I really feel like it’s [not] risky. So that makes me happy.”

Bernstein said that the event strictly adhered to COVID restrictions. He explained, “If they [students] refuse, they’re simply asked to leave because we don’t stand for any breaking the [COVID] rules, especially when it comes to a disease like this. Every person at the station is making sure that lines are spread out at six feet. Our lines are set up so none of them overlap or block the Appian Way. Food, of course, is completely safe. It’s adapted from inside the DC outside; Plexiglass, gloves, no self serve, which they used to have, desserts have been adapted into cut versions so that it’s easy to take away. And there are designated seating areas as well.”

Class of 2024 representative Winsor said, “As student government [leaders], we sign up for shifts, and one of them is mask checking for people who are breaking mask violations or like not social distancing, whatever it may be. But for our booth, we got all types of sanitizers, disinfectant wipes to try and keep up with all the touching and grabbing. And then we’re giving away t-shirts for our class. So as soon as they touch it, it’s theirs.”

Hannigan, who was celebrating her first-ever KSC carnival, felt safe as well. She said, “Everyone has been taking it really seriously and wearing their masks and staying socially distanced when they’re not in a group.”

 

TURNOUT

 

Enthusiastic crowds of hundreds of KSC students showed up to the carnival, danced to the Hula tunes, and explored different food menus.

Bernstein said, “A lot of it has been really intense this semester. For a lot of people, there has been no break, besides the Hootie days, which although nice were very short in the grand scheme of things.”

Hannigan said, “It’s important to have these events just because it boosts people’s morale. This has been such a hard semester due to COVID. So just having these events where everyone can get together and hang out in a public setting and have a fun time, that’s really important.”

KSC junior and commuter Samantha Jo Shapiro said that her favorite thing was “walking around seeing everyone on campus.” She added, “…because it has been a while since we have gotten to see the crowd.”

Ferrell agreed with the students. Ferrell was “the most excited” about “the fact that there was something for everybody, and everybody was an active participant in everything.” She added, “And of course, there’s a lot of good food.”

Bernstein said, “People are just enjoying themselves and getting to enjoy the outdoors while getting free stuff, free food, just doing fun events. And that’s so important because school isn’t just about the schoolwork, it’s about making friends, having fun and enjoying yourself… I think it’s really important to continue these kinds of events despite COVID as long as they’re safe.”

 

Puja Thapa can be contacted at:
pthapa@kscequinox.com

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