From the Editor‘s Desk

Article by Nick DeMent | Owl Staff

September 8, 2022 was a special day for hundreds of HCC students. The fall semester kicked off with the annual Owl Fest: a festival designed to celebrate HCC’s student body, represent their student organizations, as well as providing jovial relief from the first few weeks of assignments and tests. Taking place in the center of campus outside of the student center, the festival was alight with student activity.

People from all over every corner of the campus, both students and employees, gathered for a few hours to engage in recreational activities, socialize, and proudly represent their student organizations. Free food was provided as well, in the form of delectable fried chicken and other savory treats, like veggie burgers, corn on the cob, pasta salad, and of course, ice cream.

I arrived late. There was only one hour left of the festival remaining. However, in that short time I was impressed, humbled even, by the joy and passion that saturated the atmosphere, an atmosphere generated largely by the student body and their devotion to their causes and organizations. Some examples of these are the Rainbow Alliance, a LGBTQ+ collection of members of the community and their allies; the Journalism Club, which supports Owl Magazine; and the Costuming and Fashion Club, a club consisting of students interested in theatre and all the costume and design that is involved in acting.

As I approached the grounds, the first indication I was in the right place was the sonorous booming that I immediately recognized as that of a series of large speakers that projected pop music across the campus. The number of students who were there was staggering. There were easily several hundred people, if not more.

After focusing on the crowd a bit more, I noticed the activities they had set up: a surfing machine, a dunk tank, some sort of bull ride, and some sort of machine that spun a cylindrical padded object in a 360 degree angle, with four laughing students attempting, and failing, to avoid its course. If one wished, they could even have a caricature painting of their face made. I saw dozens of students walking around the campus holding amusing, cartoonish representations of their own faces.

But I was not there to engage in any of these amusements; I was there to talk to some students face to face about their experience and feelings on this celebration.

I first spoke with a three students who were sitting down at a bench enjoying one another’s company: Hannah DeMaine, a first-year student, had this to say: “It’s fun so far; we just got here. We are really enjoying it. The caricatures are really cool.”

Georgia Hild, another first-year HCC student, agreed with Hannah’s thoughts when asked her opinion: “Same sentiment. It’s pretty cool to see so many people out at the same time. The bull and surfing is really cool.”

Marisa Tuminello, who is in her second year at HCC, perfectly represents what Owl Fest can be for the HCC community: “I really enjoy Owl Fest because I get to meet new people. I have known Georgia since middle school, but I met Hannah today.”

I could tell the three of them were thoroughly enjoying the sense of connection and community. After we spoke, I made my way into a large tent that sheltered many more organizations. I found Eric Rutkowski, another student in their second year, sitting at a table. His thoughts on the day were concise but mirrored the sentiments I had already heard that day.

“I think it’s great,” he said with a smile.

By this time the event was coming to a close. As I made my way back to the Journalism Club’s table, there was Alexia Chapman, a third-year veteran of HCC, who happened to be making inquiries about Owl Magazine. She also had positive ruminations about her experiences: “I’m glad I came to it. There was a lot more to it than I thought!”

Owl Fest had inspired me within only a few minutes of my being there. Even though I was there for only an hour, the timeless nature of the sentiments behind HCC’s student body and their support for one another proved it really is a special time for members of the HCC Community.

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