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Fun in the sun | Spalding holds first Field Day at Trager Park

'This is what Spalding is all about'

Steve Jones

Great weather? Check.

Brand new park on campus? Check.

Friday afternoon was a perfect time to get outside at Spalding University.

In what the Office of Student Engagement hopes will become a tradition, Spalding held its first Field Day on Friday afternoon under sunny skies and warm temperatures at 7-month-old Trager Park. About 50 students, faculty and staff played dodge ball and kickball, had a water balloon fight and bounced around in a bouncy house all in the spirit of getting outside and enjoying college life together.

Anna Foshee, Spalding Director of Student Engagement, said the Field Day was organized in response to  feedback from lots of current and prospective students who have been wanting to see more intramural sports and activities on campus. She said her office hopes to develop more intramural programs next school year.

The Field Day was perhaps the first large campus event to take place at Trager Park, the 2.2-acre green space at the corner of Second and Kentucky streets that opened in November after being converted from an abandoned parking lot. The sodded lawn is now established and bright green, and more than 100 trees have been planted. The park was built with the idea in mind of being a site for intramural sports and campus events.

“This is amazing. It’s so nice,” Foshee said. “Besides using it for events, just showcasing it to students and making them aware of its existence and making them aware that they can access it whatever they want, that’s important. It’s going to be awesome for campus events, campus culture.”

Michaela Patton, Campus Activities Board president, said the entire third floor of Morrison Hall, where’s she’s the RA, was excited to come to Field Day.

“This is what Spalding is all about,” she said. “We’re family. It was a great chance for everybody to get together outside before the weekend starts, and with summer about to start and a lot of people going home for the summer, it was a great chance to enjoy being  together as a campus community.”

Patton, a junior, said the creation of Trager Park has made for a transformation in the lower part campus and that she believes the green space will benefit students and members of the neighborhood for years to come.

“It’s an amazing place,” she said. “It’s so open. It’s a great investment. It’s a great way to get the people on campus active.

“It used to be a big blob of parking lot and rocks. Now when I drive down this street with family or a friend, I point out the window at the park and say, ‘Hey, that’s my school!’ That’s amazing.”

Even some future Spalding students stopped by Field Day.

Spencer County High School seniors Andrea Nation and Sonyia Helton, who are committed to attend Spalding and study nursing next fall, accepted the invitation from the admissions office to come by Field Day to visit campus and meet some of their future classmates.

“I feel like it’s very welcoming,” Helton said. “It’s such a small-knit, tight college campus. Everyone knows everyone. I think this was a chance to get a jump and get a feel of how everyone treats each other and how friendly everyone is.”

Nation said she chose Spalding because it is close to home, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and has six-week block scheduling.

Visiting on Friday provided the chance “to meet new people, see new faces in making that transition from high school to college,” she said.