Students enjoy K-Day

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette -- Cameron Whiteside, first-year mechanical engineering student at Michigan Technological University, talks with Theme Park Engineering Group member-at-large Jakob Spaulding and treasurer Amy Verhines.

CHASSELL — A Michigan Technological University student looking to get involved had a record number of options in front of them Friday.

This year’s K-Day offered 204 student groups, said Jessie Stapleton, director of student leadership and involvement at Tech.

“We’ve been working every year to recruit more orgs (organizations) to come, and we’ve been trying really hard to make the event fun for everyone to recruit new members, meet some people, have some fun their first week of class,” she said. “I think it’s working.”

An estimated 3,000 students came to the event, held for the second year in a row at Centennial Park in Chassell. Formerly at McLain State Park, the event was moved last year due to the June 2018 flood and erosion concerns at the park.

“Chassell was nice enough to use this space that we rent for the day,” Stapleton said. “It’s worked out pretty well so far, so we’re hoping we can come back every year.”

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette -- Ryan Strobach, a first-year chemistry student at Michigan Technological University, sinks a shot at the Chinese Student & Scholar Association booth at K-Day in Chassell Friday.

Student organizations drew in students with everything from video games to live demonstrations.

Cars zoomed around working models of rollercoasters at the Theme Park Engineering Club’s booth. Formed last spring, it is still waiting for the paperwork to be processed to become official, but they are already planning activities for the year, which will hopefully include tours of theme parks and traveling to the International Amusement Park Association (IAPA) Conference.

“As of now, there’s no companies at Career Fair that recruit for this,” said Valerie Lynch, the club’s secretary. “If we could get more visibility on campus and get people introduced to these opportunities, that would be really great.”

More than 25 had signed up partway through the event.

“It seems like there’s a pretty big demand for this on campus,” Lynch said.

Jon Preuth has seen first-hand what a presence at K-Day — or the lack thereof — can do for a club. During a transitional period, the Husky Amateur Wargaming Club did not make it. They got no new members that year.

“K-Day is the most important day of the year for us,” he said. “You see the most amount of people, you can physically give displays of exactly what you’re doing.”

The futuristic Warhammer 40,000 is the most popular of the games. Others include the steampunk War Machine; models were also on display for Lord of Rings and Game of Thrones. Some players make history-themed models to renact World War II battles.

Club members make and build their own tabletop miniatures,

The club, now about five years old, has about 40 members — though the number of active members falls off around midterms.

At Phi Kappa Tau’s booth, students could pop a balloon with darts to win candy. They could also try to knock a can off a pole with a Frisbee.

“It’s pretty fun,” said Phi Kappa Tau member Tyler Brown, a second-year student.

He also had time to check out other booths. His favorite was one where people could measure the speed of their fastballs. (His was 80 mph.)

This was the first K-Day for Justin Micillo, a second-year transfer student majoring in civil engineering.

He was already part of several clubs, such as the Railway Engineering Activities Committee, the Misfits, and the Ultimate Frisbee Club. But he said K-Day helps many people adjust to campus.

“For the people that are coming from downstate Michigan, other states, it gives them a chance to meet people, make some friends, be in a group of likeminded people,” he said.

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