Students down for Downtown Night Out

The MSU Texas Downtown Night Out held on Aug. 17 gave students the opportunity to discover new businesses in downtown Wichita Falls. Taylor Clemmons, the assistant to associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, put the event together along with the downtown board and the office of student leadership involvement. She said that Keith Lamb, Vice President of student affairs, coined the idea to her. 

“We have fun activities on campus and stuff like that, but we realized that most students don’t travel downtown or even know what downtown is about,” Clemmons said. “We wanted to bring MSU students downtown but also make a partnership with downtown businesses for our students.”

Odalys Arana, dental hygiene sophomore, said she heard about the event from Instagram and her RA, and that she liked how the event included Maniac Mansion, Kona Ice and B Cocoa Artisan Chocolate.

“It gets you to come down[town], because we’ve been here for a year and we’ve never really come down here,” Arana said.

Brett Mitchel, biology senior, said he was excited to be a part of the first 75 students there to get in free to Maniac Mansion, which ended up being his favorite business to visit that night. 

“We had discounts at all these cool places… Maniac is the coolest place I’ve ever been. You get to dance on the games and just really play everything,” Mitchel said. “It brings exposure to downtown and it really gives it that exposure that can help bring it back to life.”

To gauge student response to the event, Clemmons and her team launched a survey on Aug. 28. This survey revealed not only that there was a positive response, but also that there is demand for more events like Downtown Night Out.

“So far we’ve been getting really great responses… Many students have been asking us to do this often,” Clemmons said. “I remember seeing on one of the responses someone said that they went down there by themselves and kinda felt a little bit left out, but after walking around by the end of the night they made some new friends and just had fun. It’s stuff like that that’s exciting.”

Clemmons said students should expect to see more events like this one in the future due to the success of this first one. Lauren Lozano, dental hygiene sophomore, provided a positive response to the Downtown Night Out.

“I feel like it helps people who come here and they don’t really know, like the freshmen that are here. It helps them know the place better [and] makes them feel more welcomed,” Lozano said. “It was fun. I think they should do more stuff like this…I had no idea this was here. There’s more than just [what is] by the school.”

Downtown events like this help students find possible places to work, give downtown Wichita Falls more business, and get more involved with Wichita Falls as a whole. Clemmons said she hopes to see the event grow bigger so that students anticipate it each year and connect more with the town. 

“Aside from our Sheppard Air Force Base our students here bring a lot of [the] population to Wichita Falls… they want to bridge the gap as well and get connected down there,” Clemmons said. “The goal is to do more collaborative events. It’s just a matter of what, when and how.”