By Sara Tyree/Around&About editor

“River Jam” made its first appearance in the New Student Days line-up, Aug. 16, during orientation week at Fort Boonesborough State Park. In the past, New Student Days activities were limited to on campus locations. Events stayed within the boundaries of speakers addressing the topics of “say no to drugs,” “how to prepare for college exams” and “how to get along with your roommate.” There was always a picnic and usually a small concert of some kind.

“River Jam” took the activities to a new level — an off campus, service-oriented event that some students said was both fun and productive. President Joanne Glasser attended the event and interacted with students to see their reactions. “The students I interacted with and spoke with said it was a wonderful learning experience,” she said. There were many activities and the word is that no one was bored. The students in attendance did not want the evening to end.”

The students who signed up traveled on four buses to the park and were treated to a day of fun.

Events included: canoe rides down the Kentucky River, the chance to meet new people and the main incentive for college students to go to any event — free food.

A sand castle artist and a disc jockey livened up the festivities, making “River Jam” the most unique event of the weekend.

Sponsored by Eastern’s Center for Appalachian Studies, “River Jam” also encouraged students to become involved in and to appreciate the Bluegrass. Students were given the opportunity to learn more about Kentucky’s environment and waterways. Many students tested water quality and helped clean up the surrounding beach areas.

Not only were new students encouraged to attend, but several returning students attended as well.

Sophomore environmental health science major Amy Turner from Berea came as a member of Eastern’s Honors society, Lambda Sigma.

“We went to mingle with the freshmen and make them feel more comfortable,” said Turner. “It was a good experience. Volunteers were open to any questions students had. The canoe rides were fun and the dragon-lady sculpture made by the sand artist was interesting, even though it was hot outside,” she said.

President Glasser showed her care and concern for the students, saying “I think what has given me the most pleasure from this project is the enjoyment our new students found in this recreational, learning service opportunity.”

“River Jam” successfully combined valuable community service and learning with food, fun and fellowship to result in a jammin’ good time for everyone.

Reach Sara at sara_tyree2@eku.edu