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story.lead_photo.caption Texarkana College students interact with community vendor Red River Federal Credit Union at a past Fall Fest.

TEXARKANA, Texas — Texarkana College's Fall Fest is coming back this year in a virtual platform, after the event was canceled last year due to COVID.

Fall Fest is an annual campus tradition for TC students to learn more about getting involved in student organizations and the community, as well as networking with other students, faculty and staff. The event will be held on Sept. 29 through Microsoft TEAMS.

Texarkana College students line up for free food and giveaways at a past Fall Fest.

"It kind of kicks off the semester and allows students to get involved in student organizations, learn more about the community and just meet students that they may not have classes with, but may have things in common with that they didn't know," said Madeleine Russell, Coordinator of Communication and Engagement. "We were unable to have Fall Fest in 2020 due to COVID, so we knew we had to bring it back. And we wanted to create the safest environment possible for our students, which is why we created the virtual Fall Fest."

Russell said TC students already utilize Microsoft TEAMS for their classwork, so it's a platform they're more than acquainted with.

The schedule of events is as follows:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Social Media Fall Challenge

9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Fall Fest Swag Bag pick up at the Truman Arnold Student Center

11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Welcome Video and Virtual Bingo — Microsoft TEAMS

2 p.m. to 3 p.m. — TC Clubs/Organizations Breakout Rooms — Microsoft TEAMS

5 p.m. to 6 p.m. — Welcome Video and Virtual Bingo — Microsoft TEAMS

5 p.m. to 9 p.m. — Fall Fest Swag Bag pick up at the Ledwell Workforce Training Center

Russell said this event has a strong history of positively impacting students early in the school year.

"We have hundreds of students show up and dozens of vendors from the community," she said. "Every single TC student organization has a booth set up. We have live music, free food and it is very happening. If you look at old pictures from Fall Fest, it is just jam-packed with students. Almost every student participates in some way."

Despite not being able to hold the event in person this year, she said the level of excitement leading up to the event this year is continuing to grow.

More than 40 students signed up during the first 12 hours of registration, Russell said. "We tried to replicate that vendor/booth feel to an online version with this.

"We're just trying to provide these exciting experiences for our students in any way possible, after they went a whole year without really being able to do anything together. And we really hope the community vendors still sign up for Fall Fest. We just want the students to know the community is here to support them in any way possible."

(For more information or to register for this event, visit texarkanacollege.edu/event/fall-fest-2021 online.)

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