Hoedown! A CIU Autumn Tradition
By Melissa McCutchan
CIU Student Writer
Columbia International University students took a break from homework on Oct. 17 to learn the art of the do-si-do and the promenade. Hundreds of students packed into CIU’s outdoor pavilion for the annual hoedown, a school-wide event sponsored by the sophomore class.
“We wanted to provide a relaxed atmosphere where students could gather together and have an overall fun time, just to be with other students,” Sophomore Class President Kyle Jones said.
The event was certainly a fun time: students laughed their way through square dancing calls, took pictures with friends at a photo booth, and enjoyed fellowship over good food. The event came on the heels of a devastating flood in the Columbia area that forced some faculty and staff from their homes, prompted the cancelling of classes and caused some very inconvenient travel off campus because of damaged roads and bridges.
“Last week was a crazy week after all that happened with the flood, so the hoedown was a really great time to relax, unwind, and laugh,” sophomore Heather Hoopes said. “Everybody seemed to have a great time.”
The sophomore class transformed the pavilion with fall decorations, including hay bales, a crackling fireplace, and outdoor Christmas lights. The warm atmosphere allowed students to enjoy a cool October night with friends.
“I enjoyed the set apart time to come together and have fun, relax, and build relationships,” Hoopes said.
The event also featured a pumpkin pie eating contest, where students had one minute to eat as much of a pumpkin pie as possible. Though it was a heated battle, junior Mitch Gebell ultimately triumphed with a huge smile and a pie-covered face.
“I really respect the other contestants’ performances, but they were ‘patchy’ at best,” Gebell joked. “I feel I ‘squashed’ the competition.”
With midterm exams approaching, Class President Jones said the timing of the hoedown was perfect.
“It was great to provide students with a break from studying and just have a fun and relaxed night.”