Games, food, and music were all available at MCCC’s Welcome Back Fall BBQ.
Students enjoyed visiting with classmates, the opportunities to join new clubs, catering by Buffalo Wild Wings, live music, and games, including corn hole and spin to win from various booths.
Kelly Heizerling, the Director of Purchasing and Auxiliary Services, represented the M
CCC bookstore with promotions and a spin to win booth offering candy and MCCC pens.
“We were busy the whole time,” she said.
A crowd of about 120 MCCC students, high schoolers, and faculty members turned out for the event.
“It was really good. I’ve never been to one before and I think the turnout was a tremendous,” Heizerling said.
Live music from The Crane Wives added to the festivities. Dan Rickabus played the drums, Ben Zitto played bass guiatar, Kate Pillsbury played guiatar and sanger, and Emilee Petermark also played the guitar and sang.
Emilee Petersmark, one of the guitarists and singers for the folk band, was able to step back in time as she and her bandmates revisited the college campus.
“We’ve been playing a lot of college shows this summer and it feels out of touch,” Petersmark said. “Our community is very post campus and it makes me feel good.”
The band played hit after hit, with students and faculty tapping their toes to each song.
“My favorite song to perform is Metaphor,” Petersmark said, “because it’s slower and really harmony driven, which I think is really cool.”
The band had a similar beginning to many MCCC students; Petesmark said she and the rest of the band all met back in college.
“We’ve been playing in a band for about eight years now,” she said. “I was graduating and then everyone else was graduating and we just decided we were going to do it.”
Student Caitlyn Laura, 18, said she is a fan of the group’s music and has been listening to their songs since last year.
“It was nice of the band to come back because they were supposed to perform in the LaZboy last year and it was cancelled,” Laura said, “so they came back for the BBQ, which was cool.
“The live music was a bonus. My favorite [song] is Take Me to War.”
Laura is entering her second year at the college and hopes MCCC hosts anther welcome back event next year.
“The vibe of all of it was a really good atmosphere. I hope to see it again,” Laura said.
Music was not the only form of self-expression on campus. While some students walked around, playing games and eating food, others represented clubs and acitivities.
College students Jessica Stamper and Declan Landis represented the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance.
“We’re hoping to find new members and spread the word about what we do, and our outreach program,” Stamper said.
Stamper works as the GSA’s secretary, and Landis as the club’s cochair. Stamper hopes to acquire new interest in their group.
“We are a club that focuses a lot on very family oriented activities, on bonding and safe spaces. We also focus on outreach; we visit other high schools and tell them about how to start a GSA, how to run a GSA, and we’ve been working with MCOP in the past to make homeless shelters more LGBT inclusive,” Stamper said.
Clubs old and new were welcome at the event. Lauren Pillarelli, Administrative Assistant to Admissions & Guidance Services, represented the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
Pillarelli explained the group is trying to have a more active presence on campus. She then explained the benefits of joining the honor society.
“Students can join and then be as active or not active as a member,” Pillarelli said. “Once you join [PTK] you are a member for life, and this goes on your resume.”
Kellie Lajiness, teacher of the school’s Ballroom Dance Club, was also in attendance.
“I founded the club in 2010 and it’s been going pretty strong,” Lajiness said.
“One of the main things we like to do is we hold a monthly party that’s open to the public in H139,” she said.
This month, the club will be hosting a Halloween themed party on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 5-7 p.m.
“We try to make it really affordable because ballroom can be really expensive, so it’s $3 per person, or $5 and bring a friend,” Lajiness said.
“Monster Mash” will include the option to wear a costume, with fun prizes for the top three costumes.
The festivities featured several colorful kites and professional kite flyers.
Cajie D’Cunha, the school’s grant writer and coordinator, is hoping to introduce a new club to the campus; this club will fly and design kites.
Representing the activity were competitive kite flyers Roger Tompkins from Ypsilanti, Vern Baldois from Cleveland, and Gina Ignazzitto from Cleveland.
“[Kite flying] is a great activity, great exercise and everyone in the kite field smiles and enjoys themselves,” Ignazzitto said.
Ignazzitto said she has enjoyed flying kites for 29 years. She, Baldois, and Tompkins are all members of the American Kite Association, and have flown kites all over the world.
“It elevates our spirits,” she said.
“I saw one of the kite flyers in Sterling State Park a couple of weeks ago and I invited him over,” D’Cunha said.
D’Cunha welcomes any students interested in beginning this club to contact him.
“The whole idea was to generate interest and see if students would be interested because it is a lot more than flying kites. These guys actually design kites and there’s a lot of physics that go into it,” he said.
“This is a whole new world, y’know?”
The large, colorful kites soared through the air as The Crane Wives began their next song and students laughed over games and food.
The Director of Purchasing and Auxiliary Services said it best.
“It seemed like everyone had a really good time,” Heizerling said.