Working on My Roar: Mane Event

On October 19, more than 1,000 prospective Lions filled the A&M-Commerce campus for Mane Event Preview Day. It was a lot like move-in—with the looks of bewilderment and wonder—except everyone was shivering in the cold instead of sweating under the sun. What a difference a couple of months makes.

Our hardworking Admissions department and extraordinary student, faculty, and staff volunteers made the day informative and interesting for the high school students and college transfers who are considering this university. Students had the opportunity to begin the day with information sessions on the admissions process and financial aid before breaking out to do campus tours or to attend specific academic sessions. To get a feel for what the students would experience, I also attended an info session: Theatre. Because I knew that’d be the place where people would be up on their feet! I loved seeing the students taking part in the action, and I joined the group for a game of “Yugoslavia.” Why not? Well, one reason might be how quickly we found that many of us did not “have the rhythm of the hands”—or feet, eyes, or hips—but we had fun playing around anyway! This info session was also a chance to learn the origin of theatre phrases like Break a leg and the ghost lore of our own theatre, which you can be haunted by when you attend the musical Kiss Me, Kate that will be running November 5 – 10!

I also stopped by other academic info sessions like the one for Computer Science & Information Systems. It was great to see students chatting with the professors about the kind of coursework in the department and the career options that would be available to them with the degree. High school students seldom get the opportunity to speak with professors they may have in college in a relaxed setting that offers small group and one-on-one chat time. Other institutions offer paid programs for this kind of interaction. You may set up more formal appointments. Or you can attend a student orientation, but usually by then, you’ve committed to the school. I truly believe A&M-Commerce’s Mane Event is a standout for the experience it offers in these breakout sessions.
However, if our visitors didn’t get what they needed in those sessions, or if they preferred a more bustling atmosphere, the 11:30 information fair was a chance to learn about our academic departments and student organizations via walk-by. With 70+ departments, programs, and organizations represented, it would be easy to be overwhelmed, but our handy mobile guidebook app made navigating the crowd and getting information easy—and a little more fun than flipping through brochure pages. All of the tables at the fair were listed and numbered in the app—convenient!

While the Leadership Engagement and Development Department (L.E.A.D.) hosted a great game of leadership values BINGO outside the info fair happening in the conference rooms, I was hidden away in the corner of the fair, behind an ominous set of curtains, prepping for what many of our visitors had been waiting on all morning…

The scholarship and prize drawings at 1:00 p.m. were among the most exciting portions of the day for our prospective Lions. With funds up for grabs, it made sense for them to be eager all throughout lunchtime on the Walking Mall, which featured A Taste of Commerce Pizza and a showcase of some of our incredible student performers. But it wouldn’t be a day on the job if I didn’t have something unexpected to be eager (and worried) about as well. I’d considered doing a walk-through of the fair to share information about our organizations with you all via social media. However, during most of the lunch hour, I was occupied with trying to get a slideshow and projector working for the Instagram photo challenge the Admissions department was hosting. (Luckily, I wasn’t the only Lion tweeting that Saturday!) To be in the running for prizes, all our visitors had to do was take photos of particular landmarks or events of the day and upload them with #ManeEvent on Instagram. Simple! Undergraduate Admissions Associate Director Demetra Durham and I discovered that it isn’t nearly as simple to display those photos to pick winners.

After a fight with the “lazy loading” pages we’re all familiar with from using platforms like Twitter and IG, I was able to get a slideshow going but not without a few technical snafus. If you’d like me to craft a semi-clever 140-character thought, give me a minute. If you’d like me to connect computer cords and use apps I’ve never used, give me a day. Or a week. I won’t be specific because it doesn’t matter. I learned that when there’s free swag or $500 on the table, no one will sob over how smoothly the photos scroll or don’t.

(Thank goodness.)

Speaking of photos, let’s take a look at some of the many fantastic ones that capture the roar of Mane Event:

Gallery includes my snapshots of the day; images from Instagram Challenge participants kayleighcolleen, stevenvanpham, stephanmacabre, tigeram_12, hsbradley, and nmmmimi; and photos from our the A&M-Commerce Marketing Communications photography team.

Check out more photos from Mane Event on the A&M-Commerce Instagram and Twitter pages as well as on our Flickr.

And if you have a story of how you’re “working on your roar” or if you have a “first time in Commerce” tale, leave a comment below or send it in via email. I would love to feature you on the blog!