By KC Longley
The smell of cotton candy and funnel cake hangs in the air as hundreds of students come together outside of Fenn Tower to enjoy an evening of fun at Cleveland State.
Surrounding the students are inflatable jumpers, fit to create an area for jousting friends as well as the landing ground for the Stunt Jump, where dozens lined up to climb the steep 30 feet and freefall to the mat below.
Annemarie Jarachovic, who holds the Viking After Dark chair, has been planning for the CAB Block Party since June. Jarachovic plans six evening events a semester for students to enjoy. Over the summer Matthew Schmiedl, the Assistant Director of Marketing and Advertising for Recreation Services, reached out to Jarachovic to discuss making the block party and the annual Rock the Rec fixture a joint event, which in-turn was held on August 31 from 6-8 p.m.
“We saw a great opportunity to partner with CAB [and] create one really big and exciting event to engage and welcome students to the new semester,” Schmiedl said, who has been working with Rec Services for four years. “We had partnered with CAB previously for our Viking Quest event last April and it worked out wonderfully, so we were happy to join forces with them again [for] this event.”
Both Jarachovic and Schmiedl pointed out that the event took a lot of planning and communication. Normally, Rec Services starts planning for Rock the Rec about four to five months in advance, but this year they only had about a month and a half to get everything together.
Since CAB was already well into the planning stages, the Rec got some backyard-style games to fit in with the carnival style theme. Present were games like Giant Jenga, Giant Connect 4, Tic Tac Toe and more. Generally, the Rec always has food and prizes to add to the fun, this year they created a scavenger hunt that participants could beat in order to win the grand prize, a TV. According to Schmiedl, this was a fun and unique way to give students an opportunity to check out all that the Rec has to offer.
Jarachovic shares that it took a lot of work to get everything ready, but in the end, it was worth it based off of the number of people that showed up. At the event, in addition to the inflatable activities, were games, food and donation tables for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
The first 100 people into the event got a free item from the food truck and the first 50 people that donated to the Harvey fund got a free t-shirt.
“It’s really fun,” Jarachovic said, thinking of the great turn out. “It’s so cool to see everyone enjoying themselves.”
For the Rec, the hopes were to carry on the tradition of supplying students with a great Welcome Week and Schmiedl believes that they achieved that.
“I give big kudos to Annemarie Jarachovic, CAB’s After Dark Chair, for coordinating their Block Party so well, and also Phil Brittain, our Aquatics & Safety Graduate Supervisor, for helping me co-lead and organize Rock the Rec this year,” Schmiedl said.
The Rec is always looking for new ways to make every event even better than the last.
“One of the cool things about Rock the Rec is that it’s a little bit different every year,” Schmeidl said. “I’d love to keep that going and bring some new ideas and activities to Rock the Rec next year and hopefully get even more students involved.”
The next After Dark event that students have to look forward to is the Paint Party on September 15, and Schmiedl shares that the Rec hopes to see a good turnout at the Homecoming 5k on October 7.
“As we saw, this event had terrific attendance,” Jarachovic said in regards to the nearly 400-student turnout. “It is hard to get students to come to night events so I am hoping that I can keep attendance up for the rest of my events this semester.”
As she stands in line waiting for her 30 feet climb and dive down into the inflatable mat, Courtney Gast, a Health Sciences Pre-Occupational Therapy major, shared her thoughts on the evening.
“It’s very interesting,” Gast said. “I’ve never gone to something like this before.”