Do you know what I had for dinner?
I had one pint of Handel’s Graham Central Station ice cream, three chocolate coookies, a large bottle of orange Powerade, a bite-size Snickers, and a green Jolly Rancher. Not exactly a healthy meal, but it’s what I could scrounge from Kent’s State’s massive student organization fair: Blast-Off.
We do a lot of different things for Welcome Week, but Blast-Off may be one of the most strategic. This is why I’m so reluctant to take the time for a proper meal during Blast-Off. It’s the space where we make connections with Kent State students and provide them with a means to indicate their level of interest in involvement, in order for us to follow up with them later.
Most of our Welcome Week events are oriented towards first-year students, since they are the most likely to try new things. And while there are still lots of freshmen at Blast-Off, all the other students from the University are there, too.
This year, we organized a game we called “H2GoFish.” It was in the style of a carnival midway, where players cast their “fishing pole” into the “water” to pull out a prize. And yeah, it was pretty kitschy and campy — but it was also fun, and it fit the environment.
During the course of the evening, students filled out 1,300 surveys. Of those, 675 (52 percent) indicated that they would appreciate some level of follow-up: either to join us for worship on Sundays, to participate in a small-group Bible study, or to meet with someone to ask questions about Christianity.
Even as the surveys were being completed, we had a team of people stationed nearby, on the second floor of the Student Center. This team used the survey cards to compile an electronic database to guide our follow-up process. And as they finished with the data entry, they prayed for the students by name.
It was a pretty encouraging team effort. Over thirty people from H2O volunteered to help run the game, staff our Info Table, collect surveys, and enter the data from those surveys. We’re praying that God sprouts many seeds from this year’s scattering throughout Welcome Week, and especially at Blast-Off.