Cougar Kickoff Opens New School Year for Students

posterCOLUMBUS, Ga. - Columbus State University opens the 2011-2012 school year with Cougar Kickoff.

The Aug. 11-26 series of 24 recreational and informational programs is designed to welcome new students and reacquaint returnees.

The kickoff begins before classes start Monday, Aug. 15, with the annual Residence Life Move-In Day on Aug. 11. Faculty, staff, alumni and student organizations help students settle into their RiverPark and main campus apartments.

Other activities range from comedy and open mic improv shows, a “bring your own blanket” outdoor movie night, a student organization expo and a Callaway Gardens beach bash to a meet-and-greet session with CSU President Tim Mescon.

Exclusive to first-time students and their families, the seventh annual Freshman Convocation on Aug. 21 serves as a rite of passage, introducing new students to the university’s community of scholars.

“During this year, we expect to challenge you, but we also expect this to be one of the most exciting times of your life," said Gina Sheeks, vice president for student affairs, in a greeting  in the kickoff's brochure. "We have over 110 student organizations covering almost any interest you may have. We also have a strong Greek life system, challenging intramural programs, fantastic athletic teams, community service opportunities and a diverse array of special events scheduled throughout the year."

Though an annual tradition, Cougar Kickoff’s fall 2011 edition “has more of a ‘for the students, by the students’ feel to it,” said Collins Brown, CSU student development specialist.

Brown and student affairs staff have worked closely with a student committee to organize this year’s slate of events. “Resulting new activities include a ‘Late Night Walmart run,’ the ‘Chill-Out’ with Dr. Mescon, the day of bowling, the ‘Zumba Bash’ and special tours and assistance to help new students find their way – on time – to their first classes,’” Brown said.

Columbus State buses will transport students between the RiverPark and main campuses and to activities held away from both campuses.

Another change incorporates campus programs outside the traditional Cougar Kickoff realm, such as a job and vendor fair by the Center for Career Development and a study abroad expo by the Center for International Education.

Cougar Kickoff activities include:

Aug. 11 - Move-In Day, at both RiverPark and main campus housing complexes, is daylong and begins with a 9 a.m. check-in.

Aug, 11 - Move-in Luau, 7-9 p.m. at the Courtyard I volleyball court, is presented by the Residence Housing Association and Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Aug. 13 - RiverPark Picnic, 6-9 p.m. at Woodruff Park, includes free food, photos, giveaways, water slides and a DJ.

Aug. 13 - Courtyard Karaoke, 7-9 p.m., Courtyard I Clubhouse, presented by Residence Housing Association.

Aug. 14 - Courtyard to Campus, 2:30-5 p.m., involves campus tours, from Courtyard I, to prepare students to find and arrive on time to their first classes.

Aug. 15 - “Ask Me” and Personal Class Tours, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., personalizes the previous day tours as ROAR (Recruitment, Orientation, Advisement, Registration) staff are available at the clock tower to help students find their first classes and answer campus-related questions from financial aid to dining.

Aug. 15 - Late Night Wal-Mart Run, 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., accommodates late school- and dorm-supply shopping as CSU shuttles students to the supercenter store on Whittlesey Boulevard, where items will be specially located and displayed to accommodate the students.

Aug. 16 - Welcome Back Picnic, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., brings faculty, staff and students to the clock tower for free food between noon and 2 p.m., plus giveaways, student organization networking, inflatables, and a “CSU T-shirt exchange,” as participants can exchange their CSU apparel from any year or special event.

Aug. 16 - S.O.S. Services of Schuster, 2:30-4 p.m. in the Schuster Student Success Center Lobby, provides students a tour and in-depth orientation of the center’s programs and resources available to them.

Aug. 16 - Meet the Greeks, 7-10 p.m. on the Greek Center lawn, is a student networking opportunity with CSU’s Greek life system.

Aug. 17 - Taste of Columbus, noon-1:30 p.m. on the cafeteria patio, will introduce students to off-campus grocery and dining options, especially those providing coupons and CSU-student discounts.

Aug. 17 - Job and Vendor Fair Extravaganza, noon-1:30 p.m. in the Davidson Student Center lounge and Schuster Student Success Center, provides a networking opportunity students seeking employment and extra income during the school year. Casual attire is appropriate for this Center for Career Development presentation.

Aug. 18 - Comedy Night, 7-11 p.m. in University Hall auditorium, features Rodney Johnson from the Hilarious Religious Comedy Tour and Corey “Zooman” Miller.

Aug. 19 - Day of Bowling, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. at Peach Bowl Lanes, offers two games for the price of one for students with CSU I,D. Columbus State will provide shuttle bus transportation.

Aug. 19 - Scavenger Hunt for Fitness, 1-2:30 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center, provides fitness and fun for teams of up to four students competing for a cash prize.

Aug. 20 - Zumba Bash 2011, 10 a.m.-noon in the Student Recreation Center multipurpose room, engages students in the Latin-inspired, easy-to-follow, calorie-burning, dance-fitness workout.

Aug. 21 - Freshman Convocation, 4 p.m. in University Hall auditorium, involves hundreds of students, families, faculty and staff gathering to welcome freshmen into the college environment. The featured speaker will be Alex Acton, CSU student government president and 2009 honors graduate.  He is completing a master’s degree in communication from Georgia State University. A reception follows in the Schuster Student Success Center.

Aug. 22 - Play Date, 7-11 p.m. in the Davidson Student Center Cougar Lounge, involves food, music and games – from traditional, like music chairs, to technical, like Wii – courtesy of Play Date Company.

Aug. 23 - Study Abroad and International Education Fair, 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the International House, will provide students information on this year’s programs and scholarships to help pay for them.

Aug. 23 - Outdoor movie screening of Fast Five, 8:30-11 p.m. on the intramural field at University Avenue and Clearview CIrcle, includes movie trivia and prizes, plus free beverage and popcorn for early arrivals.

Aug. 24 - Girl Talk: Life of a Christian College Woman, 7:30 p.m. in the Davidson
Student Center Columbus Room, involves discussion including members of the CSU student organization, Collegiate Women of Wisdom.

Aug. 25 - Chill Out with Dr. Mescon, noon-1:30 p.m. at the clock tower, provides an opportunity for students to meet with CSU President Tim Mescon in a casual atmosphere with inflatables and cold treats provided by the Chill Yogurt Cafe.

Aug. 25 - Shameless, 7-10 p.m. at RiverCenter’s Studio Theatre, is an open mic, improv platform for creative and theatrically minded students.

Aug. 26 - Callaway Beach Bash, 2-6 p.m. at Callaway Gardens, involves water recreation, food and various “dry” activities in this third annual student event. Students will ride Columbus State buses to and from the Pine Mountain resort.

For more information about Cougar Kickoff, go to