The College's mascot took center stage at a previous Fall Fest (now called Chill Fest) dancing to the sounds of the day's entertainment.
The events calendar for the 2021-22 academic year at Thomas Nelson is filled with a combination of regular events, new ones and twists on old ones.
One of the biggest is the annual fall festival, which is being rebranded as Chill Fest this year. It’s just around the corner, set for Oct. 4-5 at the Hampton campus and Oct. 6-7 at the Historic Triangle campus.
“We are spreading it out this year and offering it on multiple days to give more students an opportunity to participate,” said Kadisia Archer, coordinator of Student Life and Leadership at the College. “We’re trying to include elements of personal care with relaxation activities and stress-reducing activities.”
Archer noted the goal is to have a relaxed environment for students, faculty and staff. She’s looking to have aromatherapy available, along with singing bowls and boho cushions set up under a big tent. Tips on using gardening as a form of relaxation will be available.
Later on the year, Archer has an event called Health Matters, but she thought incorporating parts of that into Chill Fest would be timely.
“I think there’s probably a more urgent need to try to address some of this now,” she said. “We want to try to incorporate some of the self-care elements into the fall fest, and make it a really cool, fun event.”
Hispanic Heritage Month, which is Sept. 15-Oct. 15, overlaps with the Chill Fest, so Archer is having multilingual inspirational and motivational quotes set up to create an inclusive atmosphere. One side of the signs will be in English, and the other side will be in Spanish.
“We’re trying to include elements of Hispanic Heritage to blend it in,” Archer said. “I think it’s important not to make it separate. I like to incorporate it so it’s a natural part of all the activities.”
A new event this year, and one the College has tried to do in the past but hasn’t been able to, is a drive-in movie night. It’s set for Oct. 15 with a kid-friendly movie, followed by one aimed at older audiences. That event will be open to the community. The movies haven’t been picked out yet.
“I’m going to try to do a survey with the students and let them pick the movies,” Archer said. “That will be a good way to get them involved.”
Shortly after that, on Oct. 26-27, will be a pumpkin carving and decorating contest, which has proved popular in the past.
“A lot of (students) leave them around for display,” she said. “A few like to carve the pumpkins, but most enjoy painting the pumpkins.”
Two returning popular events are set for November. There are two days of escape room fun (Nov. 2-3), followed by a holiday drive-thru event Nov. 19. The theme for the latter is the Virginia Peninsula.
“It’s very similar to last year,” Special Events Manager Alicia Riley said of the drive-thru event. “It was such a success because families were invited, with kids and relatives in the car.”
Highlighting the spring semester events are the return of Grad Bash and an in-person graduation. The former is scheduled for May 11 at 7 p.m. at the Hampton Coliseum. Commencement will be the following day but at 2 p.m. instead of the traditional evening time slot. Riley, who has been at the College for 14 years, said it’s the first time she can recall an afternoon graduation ceremony.
The main reason was “so that more of our college can attend, our faculty and staff,’ Riley said. “We want as many people as possible (on hand) to support our students.”
Archer is working on creating a gaming challenge where students can participate virtually or in person, and she’s trying to set up competitions against other VCCS institutions.
For information on the events scheduled for the 2021-22 academic year, check the tncc.edu website, and announcements in Canvas.
Oct. 15: Drive-in movie night.
Nov. 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Workforce Community Leaders Reception. It will be in-person and virtual. The guest speaker is Angel Rich, a graduate of Hampton University. She’s an entrepreneur who invented the Credit Stacker app, which teaches students about finance, credit, and more.
June 2, 2022: A women’s business symposium at the Historic Triangle campus with Old Dominion University and the College of William & Mary. It’s a three-day event, with each day devoted to a different college. Thomas Nelson has the first day, W&M the second and ODU the third.
June 2022: A Juneteenth celebration at the Williamsburg campus. The College will be collaborating with the NAACP to celebrate the abolition of slavery in the United States. There will be a motor parade, followed by the College’s annual car show.
SOME OF THE RETURNING EVENTS:
Oct. 26-27: Pumpkin carving and decorating.
Nov. 2-3: Escape rooms.
Nov. 11: Veterans Day. Details are being finalized. Activities will include Walk in our Socks as well as volksmarch.
Nov. 19: Holiday drive-thru parade. This year’s theme is the Virginia Peninsula.
February 2022: Black History Month. The national theme is Black Health and Wellness so activities will be centered on that.
May 11, 2022: Grad bash, 7 p.m. at the Hampton Coliseum.
May 12, 2022: Commencement, 2 p.m. at the Hampton Coliseum.
FAMILIAR EVENTS WITH A TWIST:
Oct. 4-7: Chill Fest (formerly Fall Fest).
June 2022: Car show at Historic Triangle campus. It will be part of the Juneteenth celebration.