High school students make a connection with Alabama State University



High school students, parents and counselors from across the nation assembled in the Dunn-Oliver Acadome for the university’s semi-annual Connection Day. It is a day for high school students to visit Alabama State University and learn the various majors that it offers, the various clubs and organizations as well as meet the faculty and staff of the university.

Kendal Manns, Editor-in-Chief

Alabama State University held Fall 2022 Connection Day in the Dunn-Oliver Acadome Saturday, Oct. 15, with hundreds of students in attendance representing surrounding states of Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and of course Alabama.
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs/Enrollment Management/Admissions and Recruitment Freddie Williams Jr., reflected on the event, calling it “fantastic.”
“Connection Day was created so we could bring students and families on campus so we could show them what we have,” he said. “It gives students the opportunity to see the campus and talk to people in various areas in terms of majors. It also allows them to get information about financial aid and scholarships. It was a great event because we accomplished all of those things.”
With students, teachers and families in attendance, there was a lot to do. Administrators had to take down contact information for the students and their parents, departments served to inform the students about all the many things they had going on and displays had to be on the floor to guide the guests around the Acadome. All of the preparations also had to be done early in the morning due to scheduling conflicts.
“Originally we were supposed to set up the night before, but because they had a basketball game in the arena, we couldn’t do that,” Williams said. “So we had to ask them [faculty and staff] to get up a little earlier so they could get set up. So people came, they got their displays set up on the floor, and everybody had a pretty good attitude. I was really impressed by the ASU family and how they handled the crowd interaction.”
Williams was also impressed by the participation of the colleges on the display floor.
“The way I walked around and just kind of observed what was going on and the way that they were interacting with the students and the families because that’s key,” he said. “These are the individuals that make it happen so when the student does eventually arrive on campus, they’ve already made a connection with someone. To me that was a big thing, because they were really connecting with the students on the floor.”
Connection Day served as an opportunity for students and their families to experience what life at the university is like. Kennedy Patton, a prospective high school senior, and Walter Patton Jr., her father, were among those in attendance. The father-daughter duo spoke highly of the event and the university.
“I thought connection day was a great opportunity to get a general idea of what the university offered,’’ said Walter Patton. “We enjoyed the tours, particularly the financial information seminars that they offered and the information concerning resident life. That information was very good.”
The energy of the whole event was what stood out to him most. “We enjoyed the engagement of the students in the beginning. The energy level at the beginning really woke everybody up,” he chuckled. “At other colleges there wasn’t any of that. It was just informational, nothing fun.”
Kennedy Patton echoed her father’s feelings describing the event as “pretty fun.”
“I really enjoyed the tour and meeting people and bonding with them,” she said. “We got to go to the spirit store and we really enjoyed listening to the band…My mom was a Hornet so it pretty much feels like home for me. Overall I really enjoyed the tour.”
The opportunity to bond stuck out most to the younger Patton, who also made a few friends along the way.
As with any event, there is always room for improvement. Williams was adamant about expanding the university’s reach and being receptive to feedback.
“Maybe we could find some other areas of outreach to our constituents,” he said. “Another thing we do is send surveys to the ones that attended to get their feedback for them to tell us what they think would be better. We will tweak what we have out there based on what we get from the constituents.”
Williams hinted at a Connection Day in the spring semester, but no official date has been announced as of now. The event will most likely take place “around the Black and Gold game or a home basketball game” similar to how this one was centered around the football game against Mississippi Valley State University.