Whether you’re a college freshman who has moved away from home for the first time or a graduate student trying to work out a schedule of what’s sure to be a busy semester, the beginning of a new school year can be a stressful time for anyone. And while that might be the case for most students at East Tennessee State University, having a day where they can get free stuff helps relieve some of that stress.
Especially when you’re able to get a massage free of charge on campus.
That was the case for Jessica Brooks, a graduate student from Knoxville, who was one of the many students that took advantage of the massage therapists from Jones Chiropractic Clinic Wednesday.
“It’s a nice break,” she said with a laugh after she finished her massage. “A break from classes and teaching.”
A free massage wasn’t the only thing on the menu Wednesday at the university’s 12th annual ETSU Pride Community Showcase, where both new and returning students got acquainted with some of the local businesses in the Johnson City and what kind of campus organizations are offered at ETSU. The event was sponsored by the area Chamber of Commerce and the ETSU Alumni Association.
Brooks remembers how overwhelming college seemed when she started at the university. She said the showcase is a great way for freshmen, especially, to become familiar with the resources on campus or if they need to switch banks.
“Just from knowing as a freshman when I came in, not having any clue what was in Johnson City, the Community Showcase is just a great way to find out services and activities and what’s going on on campus,” she said.
The mission of the event has remained the same since it began: an opportunity for local businesses to interact with students and faculty to show what Johnson City has to offer. What started out as a relatively small number of businesses has grown significantly throughout the years.
This year, 34 businesses were set up around Borchuck Plaza along with about 20 campus organizations.
In addition to getting free keychains, shirts and snacks, it’s the only event where students can walk away with a week’s worth of groceries, including fresh fruit and other produce, according to Chamber of Commerce Director of Operations Barbara Mentgen.
Businesses getting their name out and students walking away with handfuls of freebies is basically a win-win situation for everyone involved.
“You get some of these businesses on campus to interact in this level and the university can take that to other levels maybe in scholarships or may in partnerships, so it is definitely a mutually beneficial endeavor between both of us. We enjoy doing it,” Mentgen said.