Star-giving focuses on student connection

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UVU’s mentor program held its annual freshman Thanksgiving dinner in the Grand Ballroom Nov. 8. The force was strong as the crowd gathered for this Star Wars themed event. Everything from fried chicken and mashed potatoes to lightsaber and laser fights were a part of this strange and enticing event.

“It’s something a lot of students could relate to, and with the new Star Wars movie coming out next month we could get more people here, which means we could feed more students.” said Jared Nusink, a biology major and team lead in the mentor program.

The mentor program is like the big brothers and sisters of the school. Their purpose is to help with student success, encourage freshmen to graduate and for everyone to feel welcome. They also hosted this Thanksgiving dinner event to bring students together. Since some of the students might be too busy or far away from family, they put on this event to bring them together with a surrogate family: UVU and its students.

At a glance the event was a full house, packed with many students and non-students like Michael Noosa.

“I probably [won’t] see my family for thanksgiving, maybe Christmas,” Noosa said.

He also said that this was a good substitute for not seeing his family this holiday. Some Students like Chase and Jessica Kaylor even dressed up in custom made Mandalorian battle armor, like Boba or Jango Fett the bounty hunters.

“Star Wars, it’s got the best fanbase in the world,” Chase said referring to why he attended the event.

Once everyone was settled and eating, Jared Nusink took the stage saying that he had a surprise. Three men with fencing ready lightsabers took Jared’s spot as the lightsaber club demonstrated their skills and technique. They didn’t wear costumes, but some of the moves were impressive, like watching a more beefed up New Hope Obi-Wan and Darth Vader fight. None of participants in the fight costumes, dawning the battle attire of a student with T-shirts, jeans and khakis.

The two major fighters, Michael Houck and Austin Gonzales said, “We try to get together and fight as much as we can.” Though it was underwhelming aesthetic wise, the fight wasn’t half bad.

A costume contest was held following the show by the Lightsaber club. People dressed as Queen Amidala, Darth Maul, Mandalorian bounty hunters and many more participated. Even Gandalf from Lord of the Rings made an appearance during the show. Some costumes like the Kaylor’s’ took a lot of time and effort; they glued, cut and 3D printed some of the gear like it was like a mini comic con.

After all the other festivities such as a booth that had a ‘build your own ship’ with Legos option, photo booth and food were finished, a laser fight was held in the Student Life and Wellness Center. Two teams, light and dark, pitted against each other for glory and dominance. Many students had left by this point, but the turnout of the event was as Nusink hoped.

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