Texas A&M University-San Antonio hosted its Fall Fest event Oct. 19 where attendees could hold a snake, ride a zipline, listen to live music and greet the new Mr. and Ms. Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
Students fundraise; guests enjoy food, drinks, activities
By Clarissa Martinez
On what felt like a hot summer day, students, friends and family gathered at A&M-San Antonio for the annual event. Attendees dressed in summer attire as they strolled from booth to booth.
Students raised money for their clubs by selling food, refreshments or activities.
The Biology Club sold pickles with chamoy and Lucas, along with drinks.
“We wanted to do something that no one would think would be at a Fall Fest, and everybody likes pickles,” said Erica Rios, vice president of the club.
People sat at tables as they ate funnel cakes, chicken on a stick and corn in a cup, seeking shade from the sun under trees and umbrellas. A person in a Spider-Man costume walked around the campus promoting the Cinema Club, whose members sold aguas frescas in flavors like limon, mango and more.
A member’s mother sells aguas frescas at her school, so they thought the beverages would be a popular seller, said Jae Barnes, president of the Cinema Club. They brought in a lot of traffic, and the club made a profit, she said.
Other booths offered activities, such as Kappa Delta Pi, an honor society for education majors, which had a photo booth with Halloween and other family-oriented props. They picked this specifically because they believed it would be perfect for the whole family, since Fall Fest is a family event, said Lisa Bitoni, president of Kappa Delta Pi.
Yoga Mind, the yoga club at A&M-San Antonio, sold henna tattoos. Buyers picked the design, and a member of the club painted the tattoo.
Hayrides were also available; each ride was approximately 10-15 minutes. Marc Flores, a computer information system freshman, assisted passengers ranging from 4 years old to 60 years old to climb on and off of the trailer.
Other activities included a mechanical bull, an inflatable obstacle course and a petting zoo where people could pose for a picture with a snake or get up close with an alpaca. Music from a DJ played in the background as people walked from booth to booth.
Members from different clubs said they were having a great day with their booths, despite the hot weather.
Campus royals receive crowns
By Stephanie Martinez
Fall Fest continued the tradition of crowning Mr. and Ms. A&M-San Antonio.
Students voted for the winners Oct. 9-17.
“The final selection committee had a difficult time selecting the finalists, so we know the students had a hard choice selecting as well,” said C Arce, Ms. A&M-San Antonio 2017-2018.
As spectators walked to get a view of the crowning ceremony, the air was filled with the aroma of funnel cakes, fried chicken and other food. The song “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish was playing and got louder as people reached the stage.
All six finalists walked up the stage as the DJ asked the crowd, “How we feeling out there?”
Before crowning Mr. and Ms. A&M-San Antonio 2019-2020, Isaac Jacob Castro and Elisha J. Bedford said their farewells as Mr. and Ms. A&M-San Antonio 2018-2019.
Bedford thanked their families and friends for their support.
“We ask you guys to continue to give that same support for this year’s winners as well and continue to be a part of our Jaguar family,” Bedford said.
Arce and Greg Gonzales, A&M-San Antonio 2017-2018, removed the crowns of Castro and Bedford and replaced them with graduation caps.
The moment the crowd had been waiting for was interrupted by technical difficulties opening winner envelopes and trying to read an envelope that was upside down.
The winners? Zachary Franckowiak, a junior majoring in international business management, and Alyssa Alvarado, a biology junior minoring in criminology/criminal justice.
Mr. and Ms. A&M-San Antonio 2019-2020 received their shiny crowns and sparkly sashes as the crowd clapped. Some shouted, “We love you Zachary” and “We love you Alyssa.”
Franckowiak said he felt extremely grateful when they announced his name. He said it meant so much to him to know that students believe in his vision.
“I see the Mr. and Ms. A&M-San Antonio program being an opportunity for the two individuals that represent the students, to give back to the students in some way,” Franckowiak said.
“They voted for me to win because they believed in me, and I want to be able to believe in them and show them the same support they showed me,” he added.
Alvarado said she felt amazed, excited and a little bit shocked.
One of her biggest supporters has been her best friend Carla Muzquiz. They met during their first year in a bio lab at A&M-San Antonio.
“She’s been with me through thick and thin, like I couldn’t have done it without her and my amazing friends that supported me throughout till today,” Alvarado said.
When A&M-San Antonio became a stand-alone university in 2009, the tradition of Mr. and Ms. A&M-San Antonio was created.
The crowns go to students who are active on campus and in their community. In addition to these requirements, they must also embody the A&M-San Antonio spirit and maintain a 2.5 undergraduate GPA.
Becoming Mr. and Ms. A&M-San Antonio means representing the student body of the university by attending events such as dinners, community service projects, campus events and parades around San Antonio.
Bedford had a few pointers for the new royals.
“Stay hydrated and enjoy it all, because when it comes down to the moments, they are going to pass before you know it,” Bedford said.
“Instead of just smiling and taking pictures, truly enjoy the moment because they only happen once.”
Bands keep fest moving
By Veronica Valdes
Following the coronation and a costume contest, local band Mirame stepped on stage.
The group formed one year ago and is composed of six members.
Mirame grooved on stage with their drums, trumpet, keyboard and electric guitar. They kicked off with an introductory piece that had entrancing psychedelic sounds to set the vibe for the show.
Guests were invited to dance in front of the stage: “Come dance with us!”
A young woman responded and began dancing; she drew in another three people.
Mirame delivered three songs; the first two were originals, “Sun and Moon” and “Westside Girl.” They concluded their set with a cover of “Earthquake” by Tyler the Creator.
Lead vocalist Natassia Casas said they are all San Antonians and people of color — predominantly of Latino background — so they make it a priority to incorporate English and Spanish into their music to appeal to a larger audience.
Mirame does not identify under a particular genre; their music is a blend of styles and languages — described as universal, said Casas in a post-performance interview.
The next performer was country artist Conor Clemmons.
Clemmons usually travels with a full band but A&M-San Antonio was his first time to perform an acoustic show.
In between songs, Clemmon’s advised spectators to continue chasing their dreams.
“We should never let anybody tell us what life is supposed to look like―or what success is supposed to be like.”
A North Carolina native, Clemmons moved to Nashville in 2013 to pursue a music career. He said he knew he “was meant to do more.”
He has landed spots on “The Voice” and “Nashville Star.” The road to landing a role in these shows was a relentless battle with many closed doors.
Since 2010, Clemmons auditioned for The Voice eight times before being accepted. He achieved the role through a private audition with a producer rather than going through a mass audition process.
Clemmons said his family is his greatest motivation throughout his journey.
“You are not only representing yourself as an artist, but you represent your family,” he said in a post-performance interview.
His growth as an artist within the last 18 months escalated from playing in a backyard in Indiana to signing on with an agency and touring.
His music has influence from his mother and brother who listened to artists such as Queen, Prince, David Bowie and Whitney Houston. Clemmons adds a touch of “rock and soul while remaining true to being country.”
Country artists that he looks up to include Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
After the performance, Clemmons and his guitarist, Charlie Emanuele, had Whataburger awaiting. This was Emanuele’s second time experiencing the iconic Texas fast-food chain.
Emanuele was unaware of which Whatameal Clemmons had chosen for them.
They both had the patty melts.
Clemmons and his band have been on tour around the nation lasting 13 weeks. They have upcoming shows in Texas, Kentucky and South Carolina.