Greek life involved with Fall Fest centennial, Art Club opts out


Photo by: Josh Meredith

People crowd Franklin Street during the 100th annual West Side Nut Club Fall Festival Tuesday. University Greek Life chapters are participating in the Fall Fest this year, the Art Club is not.

Josh Meredith, Chief Photo Editor

Campus Greek life returns to Evansville’s West Side Nut Club Fall Festival after taking a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The festival celebrates its 100th anniversary this year after Fall Fest 2020 was cancelled because of COVID-19.  

“It feels great to be back here on Franklin Street,” said Cooper Motz, director of member engagement for Sig Tau Gamma. “This is one of our biggest moneymakers of the year.”

For most of campus Greek life, Fall Fest helps fund most of their yearly events as well as their philanthropic work. 

Along with selling stromboli and honey buns at their booth, Sig Tau Gamma bikes “The S.M.I.L.E. Mile.” S.M.I.L.E. stands for support, management, information, love and encouragement. For every dollar donated to the Special Olympics, members of Sig Tau ride one mile on the stationary bike outside their booth.  

Members of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity, Gilberto Sanchez, and Shane Seessengood, take turns on the stationary bike outside their booth Tuesday. “If the seat was more comfortable it would be a lot easier,” Sanchez said. For every dollar donated to the Special Olympics, he rides an additional mile. (Photo by: Josh Meredith)

Because the festival was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, Motz said there have been two generations of Sigma Tau Gamma brothers who have not participated at their Fall Fest booth. 

“It’s really put a damper on the amount of stuff that we can actually do with our fraternity,” he said. “It’s been a lot of learning.”

Caroline Schultheis, vice president of administration for Delta Zeta, says that she’s excited to be back for her third and final year working the Fall Festival. 

“Unfortunately, it’s my last year already, and it’s still not 100% back to normal,” Schultheis said. “It feels like my college experience has flown by.”

She said leading a chapter this year is different than leading last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Especially in an executive board position, I feel like you’re looked up to more when people can see your face,” Schultheis said. “Leading a chapter in person is a lot different than leading it virtually.”

Other chapters of university Greek life also attend the Fall Festival, including Tau Kappa Epsilon, Lambda Chi Alpha and Alpha Sigma Alpha. 

“A lot of people lost morale because we weren’t able to do as much anymore, but we all got a good mindset coming back,” said Brenden Bittner, president of Lambda Chi Alpha. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun, it’s worth it in the end.”

Pierce Howard, junior political science major, and Hagan Hollinger, sophomore electrical engineering major, hold signs outside Lambda Chi Alpha’s booth Tuesday. (Photo by: Josh Meredith)

In addition to campus Greek life, Art Club usually has a booth at the festival. This is the first year Art Club has voluntarily opted out of its annual attendance in lot 38. 

“Typically during the fall festival, we have a buttered corn on the cob booth,” said Emma Goodrich, president of the Art Club. “This year is different because we don’t have enough corn to sell.” 

Goodrich said the yearly corn supplier for the booth didn’t have a high enough yield due to problems with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We were going to do something else, but we all felt that we should just stick to our tradition of selling corn,” she said. “If we can’t do that we just aren’t going to do it at all.”

It typically takes seven people to run the corn booth. With such a compact space it would be impossible to run the booth and keep a social distance.

Goodrich said she was thankful the money raised during the Fall 2019 semester was still unspent allowing the Art Club to do a smaller scale fundraiser this year. 

Despite not being able to attend the Fall Fest this year, Goodrich is happy with the progress of the Art Club since the start of the pandemic. She said membership is over 40 people this year.  

“Every club wants growth,” Goodrich said.  “I’ve never seen so many people in it, at least not since my freshman year.”