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Stadium lights : Clubs and organizations gather at Lights on Stillwater

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After a summer of separation, students gathered together on the north side of Boone Pickens Stadium to enjoy free food and fun.

Featuring community and campus organizations, Lights on Stillwater returned to its in-person format. 

Annually, booths representing groups on Oklahoma State’s campus and the surrounding community line the north side of Boone Pickens Stadium. With an entry fee of $1 or one canned food item, students can enjoy music and games while connecting to their interests.

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic affected Lights on Stillwater, like everything else. The event shifted from its traditional setting causing new freshmen to not experience the activities fair.

Kayla Osborne, freshman graphic design major, said she is from the state of Washington and this event provides opportunities to easily connect with new organizations.

“Actually, it's been pretty easy going,” Osborne said. “Like, I’m surprised how welcoming it is.”

Oklahoma State University Student Foundation aims to raise funds for students in need of scholarships and held a booth at Lights on Stillwater. Jenny Cook, a sophomore speech communications and disorders major, is the student foundation’s vice president of membership.

Cook did not attend the in-person event last year, but Cook said she liked having the opportunity to connect with fellow students. 

Cook said the event helped draw attention to the student foundation.

“We gave away 200 of our t-shirts and we had a lot of people wanting to know how to apply for the student foundation, which you can apply in fall,” Cook said.

Lights on Stillwater is not just for campus and student organizations but also for Stillwater community groups.

OSU alum Bradley Kinder is part of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Stillwater, and he said the organization has been coming to Lights on Stillwater for multiple years. 

PFLAG Stillwater is a local LGBTQ+ and ally group offering support for the community. 

“Lights on Stillwater is an amazing venue for us to reach out to students and people in the community and let them know we’re here for them, and we are happy to be a part of it,” Kinder said.

The group’s mission, Kinder said, is especially meaningful to him because PFLAG supported him when he came out to his family.

Organizations also provide attractions such as games and activities for students.

Roping its way into the hearts of students, Cross Brand Cowboy Church brought its small group and two metal cows to show people how to rope at Lights on Stillwater. It’s pastor, David Lyons said it's fun and is a great way to engage students.

“Tonight we have two roping dummies set up here and pretty much stay consistently busy all night,” Lyons said. “So, it's a good time, which is how we view church.”

Working through partnerships with the OSU horse ranch team and state FFA chapters, Lyons said the church offers an agriculture community for OSU, because it's roots are in agriculture.