By Karyn Ho, Spirit of Texas Festival Publicity Committee
Howdy! One of the main missions of the Spirit of Texas Festival, presented by H-E-B Creamy Creations, is to provide an engaging educational experience for our local college students. We currently have many Texas A&M University and Blinn College students involved in making the festival a reality by providing creative ideas, taking an active role in the planning process and offering their valuable time as volunteers.
The festival offers a win-win opportunity for these students. “We believe education should not be confined to just the classroom and it is important for students to get real experiences in their interests. We love the ideas that these students have contributed and the energy they bring to accomplishing the tasks associated with planning this festival,” said Cynthia Caronna, the Spirit of Texas Festival executive director. “Plus, it is a great way for them to join us in giving back to the community.”
Aggies Learning About Marketing a Special Event
The Spirit of Texas Festival is working with May’s Business School professors to offer unpaid internships and class credit to students who work on the festival. In turn, students have a chance to hold unique and important leadership opportunities in helping to run and plan the festival.
Members of Mays’ Aggie Advertising Club also are actively involved in promoting the festival. “I have acquired leadership skills that I know I will carry with me throughout my professional career,” said Adriana Radu, who serves as the Aggie Advertising Club’s vice president of special topics as well as the Texas A&M Spirit of Texas Festival Student Organization’s director of advertising. “I learned to be flexible and think on my feet in the startup environment of a developing festival. I also learned how to budget my time wisely so that I can balance my leadership positions with my schoolwork.”
Many other Aggies are volunteering through the Spirit of Texas Festival Student Organization to help put on the festival. The students are working to create awareness in a real-world environment through sales, guerrilla marketing and publicity. “I’ve learned so much throughout the process,” said Renee Richardson, the organization’s founding president. “I can’t wait to see it all come to life in March!”
Caleb Caraway, a member of Texas A&M University’s Corps of Cadets, has volunteered for the festival since its inception in 2017. He was involved with Spirit of Texas Festival last year as head volunteer coordinator. In that role, he handled a variety of tasks, including coordinating volunteers, picking up trash and driving trucks. This year, Caraway is spearheading the participation of Corps members as well as training and coordinating all volunteers. “The Spirit of Texas Festival is unique and nothing like what I have seen in the area,” he said. “Last year, I was able to apply the leadership skills I learned through the Corps of Cadets to organizing the festival. I had to be resourceful when many new challenges were presented to me. Ultimately, it was gratifying to see friends and family having fun at the festival, knowing that the festival benefits the local charities.”
Blinn College’s Involvement
Excitement about the festival is also building among faculty and students across all of Blinn’s campuses (Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy). Blinn’s Kinesiology department will organize the Pony Hop Rodeo while other student volunteers will help set up displays at the Idea Village. In addition, some instructors give students class credit if the course has a Service Learning component.
“Blinn is privileged and thrilled to be part of this community venture,” said Lane King, the coordinator of student activities at Blinn College (Bryan campus). “We believe Spirit of Texas is a great fit for our community-oriented spirit, and a great way to commemorate our 135th anniversary this year. We expect a great turn out from Blinn.”