Baker’s picnic kicks off year with food, music

By Mitchell Spence

NIU President Doug Baker aimed to pump up the crowd for the upcoming academic year during Sunday’s President’s Picnic by the East Lagoon.

Students, families and faculty and staff enjoyed free food provided by Housing and Dining, music performances from a live stage and a speech from Baker, who introduced Athletic Director Sean Frazier. Frazier emphasized the importance of fans and student support for all of the sports teams.

Freshman psychology major Devante Taylor said he was excited for the year and was nervous about trying out for the football team.

“I was sitting in my room and saw there was a picnic and thought I would come check it out,” Taylor said. “It has been nice. I got some free stuff and there is nice music.”

Graduate physics student Ryan Stadel said he and his roommates hadn’t intended on attending the picnic.

Stadel’s roommates and he were “driving by to go do laundry and heard about the free food and said absolutely we’ll head down,” Stadel said. “This is my first year at the picnic and I know I’ll be back next year.”

Audrey Maxey, Housing and Dining food administrator for Gilbert Hall, said the preparation for the picnic began at 9 a.m. and it was a large project to put together before the event which began at 3 p.m.

“We have been planning the details for at least the last week,” Maxey said. “The thing is, look at all these people having a nice time, which is what makes it worth it.”

Emily Morzy, senior special education major, said she stopped by many of the booths with her friends to see what the picnic had to offer.

“We wanted to check out the event and meet the freshmen,” Morzy said. “It’s been awesome — lots of free food and music.”