By Emma Bradley
The campus is alive with the chatter of hundreds of people, both young and old. Booths selling a variety of foods and items cover the green.
Bethel students, alumni, and families, along with members of the greater community surrounding the college gather together one weekend in October to celebrate Fall Festival.
While Fall Fest is a celebration with a focus on fun, many Bethel students spend at least part of the weekend working – sometimes in multiple venues – which can add stress. However, students, like junior Casey Schunn of Whitewater, don’t let this stress ruin the fun.
“I feel like I’m giving back as a student,” Schunn said. “A lot of us are really busy making sure things run smoothly, so despite the weekend being a little stressful and tiring, I’m okay with it because I know I really enjoyed it as a kid, and adults also appreciate the hard work.”
Schunn, who will help with the space gyro, the noon lunch tent, and a night-time observation in the astronomy tower, definitely has a full schedule for the weekend, but has no complaints about his workload.
In fact, another busy Bethel student, senior Landon Bartel from Newton, said he enjoys having a full schedule.
“I think my favorite thing now is the fact that I am so busy,” Bartel said. “I like being involved in lots of different things throughout the weekend.”
Bartel will be playing bass in three separate music programs during Fall Fest, and said he is “more involved in the behind-the-scenes part of Fall Fest now.” He also mentioned that attending Fall Fest as a student means a lot less free time. “I don’t have a lot of time to goof around or anything,” Bartel said.
Freshman Abby Schrag from Newton, who will be working at the ticket booth for the musical, expects the same of her first year attending Fall Fest as a student rather than a community member.
“I will be going to some of the STEM lectures, which I definitely didn’t do when I was younger,” Schrag said. “I’ll have to just do fun things at specific times now instead of hangout for the day.”
Despite a lack of free time and potential added stress brought into the lives of students during Fall Fest, it is still an event at which students and other attendees are able to have lots of fun. For example, Schrag said she is most excited for the variety of food that Fall Fest brings. Schunn fondly described the parts of Fall Fest he remembers from his childhood.
“I remember there being a rock wall – that was always awesome,” Schunn said. “I think a strong children’s activities area is important. There was always spin art, the running inflatable thing, a petting zoo, other inflatables. Oh, and pictures. I remember that you could get your picture taken and then put it on a keychain, that was always good to get Bethel’s name out.”
Sophomore Rachel Unruh of Raytown, Mo., who will work at the softball booth and help with Kettle Corn, said she enjoys Fall Fest more as a student than she did as a younger kid.
“It’s neat to see all the alumni and Newton come together for the weekend,” Unruh said.
Ultimately, many students expressed that they don’t mind working at Fall Fest because it isn’t all about them.
“Sometimes I think it’s a lot more special for the past students to see each other, like a little class reunion every fall,” Unruh said.
In addition, Unruh described Fall Fest as an event better understood as a student, saying, “as a student, you have a better understanding of the importance of Fall Fest to not only the school, but the community. You’re more familiar with the organizations and clubs, and you know a lot more people.”