Community at the Heart of the CIU Hoedown
By Ireland Kost
CIU Student Writer
Partners twirl in a circle, friends sing by a bonfire, competitors bob for apples, and the 2018 CIU Hoedown is underway!
As the sun sets over campus, students at Columbia International University mingle on the grassy quad. Hayrides pull up to transport flannel-decked people to the Pavilion at the CIU Lake. They roll past the softball field, bump down the lane, and into the woods. Once the ride comes to a halt students leap out, turn toward the party and are greeted with a flood of light in the middle of CIU’s 400-acre campus. Music drifts on the night air, a warm campfire crackles in the chill, and twinkling lights are strung across the Pavilion. A dance caller shouts out instructions.
Students who were studying, jogging, or reading earlier are now dancing and hollering “Yee-haw!”
Seniors Hannah Ferry and Abdoul Balla hurry across the floor with their peers to make a formation. Having a guest caller each year is a tremendous blessing; the caller can take students who have never danced in this genre and quickly coordinate them. When the choreography is in sync, it looks like a kaleidoscope of people. Students love it.
If the dancing isn’t enough to keep you warm, the fire blazes with sticks for toasting marshmallows and supplies for S’mores.
Prizes are given away too! The winner of the bobbing for apples contest, Jonathan Haselden, receives a gift card to a CIU favorite — Grace Coffee Company! Later a pie-eating contest is underway.
The Hoedown is sponsored every year by the student-led organization Student Union, becoming one of the most anticipated events of the year.
“I enjoy setting up events for students and seeing them have a good time,” said Student Union Vice President Caleb Joung. “I think being on the team teaches a lot about a servant heart that Jesus wants us to have, and if we love with that right heart, it makes it much easier to serve.”
Excitement is building on the CIU campus with a dramatic increase in enrollment and on-campus expansion including the $20 million William H. Jones Global Business & IT Center. Information on enrollment is available here or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024.