KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 16, 2022
Kennesaw State University’s campuses were alive with activity Monday as more than 43,000 students returned for the start of fall semester. Based on preliminary data, this represents a slight increase over Fall 2021.
The semester kicked off on Sunday with First-Year Convocation, an annual tradition formally welcoming freshman students to campus. KSU President Kathy Schwaig was joined by Head Football Coach Brian Bohannon along with the KSU cheerleaders and the University’s mascot, Scrappy the Owl. Afterward, the students were invited to a festival-style event with food, music, and games.
On Monday, in recognition of the first day of classes, students were invited to partake of the First Day of School Cake, an annual tradition held on both the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses. The event was hosted by President Schwaig, and students were greeted with a sweet treat and the opportunity to create their own KSU mascot in the Stuff-An-Owl tradition.
“There is so much energy and anticipation on our campuses from our faculty, students and staff as we begin the fall semester,” Schwaig said. “These events and activities are a great way to help students engage with one another and make those important connections that will help them succeed this year.”
As she stuffed her own plush KSU Owl at a table on the Campus Green, freshman Taylor Tran said she was most excited to make new friends, take in the college experience and learn.
“I’ve always wanted to be an independent businesswoman. My mom owned a business in Atlanta, and she always told me, ‘You can do it, too,’” said Tran, a Grovetown, Ga. native and first-generation college student, who plans to major in entrepreneurship.
Tran said she had already attended several on-campus events since her recent move-in. She also said she was excited about the new FLIGHT26 program, part of the University’s FLIGHT: First-Year Connections program, which is designed to help first-year students develop as a community and create a sense of belonging.
“I really like it, especially since we’re the first class,” Tran said. “Years from now, when we see someone walking down the street with a FLIGHT26 shirt, we’re going to know they were part of our group. It feels good to have that community.”
Junior Tsunami LaRonde said he was excited to jump into more of his advanced, major-related classes in the new school year.
“I came into school during COVID, so it’s nice to see people out here again,” LaRonde said. “This is my first time getting out on campus for activities like this, and it feels great.”
Near the Globe on the Marietta Campus, Eric Bryant, a junior studying computer engineering, was the first in line.
“I'm looking forward to being social this semester and getting involved in at least one registered student organization,” Bryant said.
First-year students Laila Dieng, Kylie Mitchell and Nathan Landry waited in line together to stuff owls and have their photo taken with Kennesaw State mascot, Scrappy. All three had been given advice by family members and friends to get involved on campus.
“I’m planning to get out of my comfort zone and am excited to meet new people,” said Dieng. “I want to make the most of my time while I’m in college.”
– By Thomas Hartwell and Abbey O’Brien Barrows
Photos by Judy Pishnery and Matt Yung
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.