K-State students gathered at Bill Snyder Family Stadium Sunday evening as it marked the kickoff to the Week of Welcome festivities.
The evening started with a freshman class picture, followed by free hot dogs, chips and soda provided for the first 3,000 students. Vice President of Student Life Pat Bosco and Student Body President Dalton Henry were among those helping students by giving out free hot dogs.
“I thought we had a great turnout as far as students coming out here goes,” Henry said. “We had a great group of staff and volunteers help put [Week of Welcome Kickoff] on.”
While students were enjoying the refreshments provided, recording artist Ziv performed for the crowd. Students with ICAT athletic tickets also could pick up their ICAT T-shirts and membership cards throughout the event.
The K-State Marching Band marched onto the field and turned the event into a pep rally. Director of Bands Frank Tracz led the crowd on a crash course about how to cheer at games. The band, along with the K-State cheerleaders and Classy Cats, performed at the rally in preparation for the first game of the year on Sept. 5. The band played every song they would normally perform during a game as well as the pregame routine. Willie the Wildcat also provided the student section with entertainment as he led the students in the “K-S-U” chant.
The athletic department took over after the marching band performed, as a handful of guest speakers talked to students. University President Kirk Shulz and Athletic Director John Currie spoke to students first about what needs to happen to make the K-State student section the best in the conference. Women’s volleyball head coach Suzie Fritz, men’s basketball head coach Frank Martin and head football coach Bill Snyder also addressed the crowd about academics and supporting various sports.
“This is really a cool thing,” Schulz said. “Seeing this many people excited about football season coming up and just the whole event to get students ready for classes.”
Schulz said he thought Fritz, Martin and Snyder are great representations of K-State.
“They want to see as many students out there as possible to support our programs and our teams, and I know all three of them and they’re doing a great job for us,” Schulz said.
Nate Warren, graduate assistant and coordinator for the event, told the students that this year the student section at football games will be named for the first time.
“We thought naming the student section would be a good way for giving students a little bit of ownership and unity,” Warren said. “At the University of Tennessee we did something similar and named it ‘Orange Nation’. It was something people recognized and really rallied behind.”
A mass e-mail will go out this week with all the details about naming the student section, which should be named by the first football game, Warren said.
Concluding the pep rally was the University Program Council sponsored film “Adventureland” that was played over the jumbotron at the stadium.
Emily Haug, student coordinator for WOW, said donations for the event were provided by Ray’s Apple Market, PepsiCo Inc. and Rockstar Energy Drink. Haug, senior in political science, said she wants to make the event annual.
“We’re hoping the event becomes a new tradition at K-State,” Haug said. “Each day is themed as we’re trying to help students get used to college life.”
The student section was full for the event. Aaron Feldkamp, junior in pre-pharmacy, said he had a great time during the kickoff and pep rally.
“Who doesn’t like free food?” Feldkamp said. “I think with this whole thing here, we’re getting the freshmen to know exactly what Kansas State is all about.”