Mt Pleasant News

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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 19, 2018

A whole lot of rockin’

IW kicks off school year with Rock Around Campus
Aug 25, 2017
Photo by: Brooks Taylor “Wes,” the Tiger mascot, made an appearance and is greeted by Katie Garcia, an IW senior, from Liberal, Kan., during the second annual Rock Around Campus event Thursday night.

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News


It’s unanimous — Rock Around the Campus is a hit, according to the several hundred community residents, Iowa Wesleyan University officials and students attending the second “Rock” Thursday night on the IWU campus.

The event was initiated last year by the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance, but IW took the reins this year. IW President Steve Titus said he wants to see the event become an annual “start the year” activity at IW and possibly have joint sponsorship between the Chamber and university.

“The significance of this event is really important,” Titus said. “It builds a stronger bond between Iowa Wesleyan and the community. It is a great way to kick off the school year.”

Titus said the university wants the students to feel part of the community, saying that any event that brings together students and the community is “overwhelmingly positive. It is very important that the community knows that Wesleyan belongs to it and the region.”

In addition to showcasing the IW campus to the community and introducing the student body to the community, there were games for the kids, a bouncy house and a “Anything Goes” contest. IWU and Mt. Pleasant Community High School cheerleaders performed and the MPCHS band also entertained onlookers.

“I think this is wonderful,” Dr. Joanna Settles said as she watched her children playing some of the games and mingled with the crowd. “It is great to see the town come together with the university. There are fun activities for all ages.”

IWU senior Michael Soukup is among a number of students who knows Mt. Pleasant very well, being a Danville native. Still, Soukup saw the importance of the activity, both to the college and community. “It’s great. It gives the students a chance to interact with the community, hang out with other students. It just promotes very good camaraderie between the community and university.”

Henry County Attorney Darin Stater was on hand to watch his daughter perform with the MPCHS band, but quickly added he would have attended even if he didn’t have an instrumentalist.

“I feel this is incredibly important to both the community and university,” Stater said. “The students look like they’re having a great time. It is a good way to get the locals to mingle with students, many of whom are unfamiliar with Mt. Pleasant. I really enjoy this. Mt. Pleasant and Iowa Wesleyan need each other.”

Carley Barlow, an IWU senior from Amboy, Ill., said she has always felt at home in Mt. Pleasant. “When I first came to visit the campus, I said, ‘I’m staying.’”

She said she comes from a similar-size community to Mt. Pleasant which was an advantage and said she thought the “rock” was very important. “It is exciting to have the community come to the campus and getting people together to start the year. It makes for an exciting way to start the school year,”

Barlow said the event was well-received by the student body last year and expected the same this year. “It seems like there are a lot more people this year. I know it has helped students feel comfortable in the community. Students told me last year that Rock Around the Campus got them motivated and excited for the school year.”

“It’s a great way to have the university and community get together,” noted Mt. Pleasant City Administrator Brent Schleisman. “It brings unity between the university and community as it should. It is a wonderful event, and I hope it becomes an annual event.”

Former Mt. Pleasant Mayor John Freeland said any type of activity that forces interaction between Mt. Pleasant and Iowa Wesleyan is a “can’t lose” situation. “It brings people together and there are a lot of Mt. Pleasant residents who are passionate about the college. I think the students feel that community support, too.”

It may have been the last such event for Brock Butler, an IWU senior from Palmyra, Mo. He said that events such as this have made him feel a part of the community. “I like how it gets everyone involved. You see a part of the community you don’t see on an everyday basis. This seems to get bigger each year and that’s great.”

Rock Around the Campus capped off a big day for IWU students. The day also featured the first convocation of the year and an all-school picnic prior to the nighttime capper.

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