The college community and families gathered to participate in the Student Government Association’s (SGA) annual Oktoberfest, which spanned over three days and included historic Ramapo events. The festivities began on Thursday night with a viewing of Ramapo’s episode of “The College Tour” and ended late Saturday night with the vibrant Glowfest in the Grove.
This year’s Oktoberfest was unlike any other, because built into the celebration on Friday was the inauguration of President Cindy Jebb. It helped to keep the energy alive and well all weekend long, and it allowed for families and the community to partake in the historic celebration of Ramapo’s fifth — and first woman-identifying — president. Jebb was sure to keep the party going too, as she attended many of the other events and festivities planned with her own children and grandson.
The highlight of the weekend was Saturday’s Family Day, as parents, families and friends came to Ramapo to spend time with their Roadrunners, explore campus in its autumn beauty and enjoy tons of festivities, like the Carnival on Bandshell Lawn.
“I wanted my family to see the campus and to just have a nice time with [them] and my friends,” said Melanie Flynn, a junior elementary education major and transfer student. She was excited to have the opportunity to show her family around and partake in fun activities together, like painting pumpkins and attending the family bingo.
“I love to be able to come up here,” her mother Diane said. “Obviously I miss her, but it’s nice that they do things like this, that we can come up here, visit her dorm, see the campus and meet the other families and the friends that she’s met.”
Tons of dedicated planning was required to pull off an event as big as this, and it began back in August. SGA’s Secretary of Programming Christine Defeo had the biggest role in the event planning, but she enjoyed “the creative freedom” she was given to explore what activities and attractions would be best for this year. The featured inflatables included a bobbing for apples game, axe throwing and a mechanical bull.
She worked closely with Amanda Riehl, the assistant director for student involvement, and they both expressed how happy they were with the turn out, as well as the beautiful weather.
“Being that Oktoberfest was tied in with the inauguration, it was a really good opportunity for families to have multiple things to go to throughout the weekend,” Riehl said. “It made it an even bigger experience, which is awesome.”
This year, the long sleeve shirts and food were a big hit. The shirts, designed by SGA, are always something students hurry to snag, so Riehl and her team hope to get more t-shirts in future years.
Unlike years past where outside vendors were used, Ramapo Catering provided the food for the event, consisting of several different stations, and attendees loved the options. Using in-house food services helped the event run smoothly and gave the team ideas to expand the food stations next year.
Although most families headed back home around dinner time, the festivities didn’t end there. It wouldn’t be a Ramapo Oktoberfest without Alpha Psi Omega Theater Honor Society’s haunted house in Birch Mansion, and they certainly gave a frightful experience to the students that attended the haunted doll themed tour. Senior theater major Devon Wells was one of the tour guides for the night, and he had the opportunity to see the fearful reactions firsthand.
“In my last group there was one girl who was crying out of seemingly genuine fear,” he said. “But luckily she had her friends to comfort her, and the tour didn’t last too long… We definitely had a lot of good screams.”
Students and staff from all departments that contributed to Oktoberfest are already eager to begin thinking about next year’s festivities, and if they can exceed their success from this year, it will definitely be a great event worth attending with family and friends.
Photo by Emily Melvin.