FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – When huge thunderstorms rolled through around 5 a.m. early Thursday morning, the students and staff who work for the Naylor Student Center and student life offices had to think fast to save Southwestern’s Campus Picnic and Church Fair on Sept. 2.
After a late-morning meeting to finalize the contingency plan, the offices teamed up to prepare the student center for the more than 700 Southwestern students, spouses and their families who moved through the building during the come-and-go event.
Student life workers strategically directed the flow of pedestrian traffic that went up one side of the building’s double staircase and down the other in pursuit of free Chick-fil-A sandwiches, drinks and places to sit. Student workers also kept busy refilling drink canisters in three locations and clearing tables after the crowd enjoyed their sandwiches.
Every available round table in the building was set up in both upstairs banquet halls, said Matt Speight, student center sales manager. Toward the end of the evening, the Southwestern Grill and the Cafe’s overflow seating areas were also opened as some students remained to hang out and socialize, and the Recreation and Aerobic Center’s hours were adjusted that evening in order to provide enough personnel from the student life office to serve the Southwestern family.
Due to space concerns, local churches also had to improvise their booths this year, leaving their tents and banners at home and taking advantage of the close quarters to get to know the students and their children. Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth, was one of the best examples, which recruited two of their members to entertain the crowd through providing balloon creations and card tricks. Other churches provided cotton candy, popcorn, gift certificates and homemade treats like South Burleson Baptist Church’s chocolate chip cookies.