Students packed into the Lois B. DeFleur Walkway on Saturday to usher in the new school year at Binghamton University’s 20th annual University Fest.
This year’s events included “Shindig at the Fountain” on the Hinman Quad, where there were carnival rides as well as a free concert featuring the band Wild Nothing.
“I like the idea that you can see all the different student organizations,” said Milton Chester, associate dean of students. “It’s a fun festival, the people are happy and the day is gorgeous.”
Student groups tabled between the Student Services Wing and the New University Union.
University Fest made its return to the Hinman Quad and Lois B. DeFleur Walkway after last year’s event was moved to the East Gym parking lot due to construction. Ian Amman-Rao, a sophomore double-majoring in history and economics, said he is glad it was moved back, but the new location did have some problems.
“It’s a better spot and way more crowded than last year,” Amman-Rao said.
Denise Erani, a senior majoring in business management, agreed that the festival was tightly packed this year.
“I think it would have been better to have the tables spread out a little more so students could have more space while walking,” Erani said. “But overall it was a good turnout.”
Rachel Laines, a junior majoring in anthropology, said University Fest is a good opportunity for incoming freshmen to find their niche and make new friends.
“It’s a great way for new students to get to know the campus and be involved with clubs, and it’s also a great opportunity to meet people and get more active in the school,” Laines said.
While student organizations and vendors tabled, the new additions to this year’s events included a water park area, giant tricycle rides and a display of over a thousand cupcakes.
Absent from this year’s festivities was the free book tent, a popular attraction missing from the 20th anniversary celebration.
Andrew Kim, a freshman majoring in engineering, said he enjoyed the large variety of groups and organizations tabling at University Fest.
“What was cool was how diverse it was,” Kim said. “There were so many options, and in high school you don’t see that.”
Many students said they attended University Fest to take advantage of the weather or those tents designated to giving away free popcorn or cotton candy.
“I came today for free soda and to get out and enjoy the nice weather before we start classes,” said Audrey Russo, a sophomore majoring in English.
Other students who went to the event were returning attendees.
“It’s my junior year and it has almost become a tradition to go to University Fest,” said Rachel Samuels, a junior majoring in human development. “It’s weird seeing all of the freshmen, but it’s nice that everyone comes together.”
University Fest even offered a taste of campus life to international students. KeHan Zhu, a freshman majoring in graphic design, smiled as she held up her pixie stick and free water bottle.
“It’s more fun than Chinese universities,” Zhu said.