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With Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow, many people are thinking of everything that they have to be thankful for. We have a lot to be thankful for in Kent, too.

After living in here for a few years, I’ve realized that it’s a pretty cool place for people my age to live. The atmosphere is beautiful, there’s plenty to do, parks are everywhere. I can’t really complain about what Kent has to offer me.

Below, I have listed different things that I’m thankful for in Kent. What are you thankful for?

Plenty of trees

I’m a country girl and I’ll take natural scenery over concrete any day. I’m thankful for the beautiful trees dispursed all through Kent, Ohio. I love that Kent tries to keep the trees.

Beautiful parks

I’m also thankful for the parks throughout Kent. It’s nice to have a variety of parks so close to home! Whether I want to go work out, go for a picnic or go relax, there’s a park in Kent that has what I’m looking for.

The spacious campus

We’re also lucky that Kent State University campus is right in town. It’s nice to be able to walk downtown from class. Not to mention, our campus is one of the prettiest that I have seen in the area.

Downtown and Acorn Alley

Downtown Kent and Acorn Alley are both places that I am thankful for. Downtown is full of bars to hang out at with your friends and Acorn Alley is full of shops to look around in. It’s the perfect combination of things to do not far from campus.

Quick, yummy food

Kent does not have many sit down restaurants, but it actually works out better this way. College students and professors don’t have much time for a sit down restaurant, so we have quick, but good, options in Kent. Places like Taco TontosFive Guys and Pita Pit offer good food without taking up our time.

Crazy black squirrels

It probably sounds silly, but I think the black squirrels are adorable and add character to Kent. Kent wouldn’t be the same without them!

That’s about everything I’m thankful for in Kent. What are you thankful for?

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Kent’s Halloween celebration is intense. Thousands of fairy-tale characters stumble through the streets, police stand guard with 100 wrist-ties on their belts and the alcohol supply is unlimited.

I’m all about going out and having a good time, but where’s Kent State University’s public relations and communications department? Crime and public drunkenness are greatly increased every Halloween weekend, and I think that Kent State’s PR should be reaching out to students.

What Kent State is doing wrong

When I searched “Kent State University Halloween 2011” on Google, I found ridiculous videos from YouTube and a few stories about this weekend. Students who were involved in the crazy party posted the drunken videos. One story, “KSUPD to Focus on Campus Security for Halloween” discussed campus police and the guest rules in dorms, another story “Celebrate Halloween Kent Style” featured pumpkin carving and the other “Don’t Be A Shitshow This Halloween” discussed smart drinking. Most stories were from Kentwired.com, a student-run campus newspaper.

Why are students the main source for communication about Halloween? Why isn’t Kent State trying to communicate safety with students in preparation for the typically out-of-control weekend? Where is the information about safety and how to handle a dangerous or troublesome situation?

What Kent State should be doing

Although Kent State is taking proper precautions by having extra patrol on campus and monitoring campus guests, I think more student communication should be done. I have three suggestions for Kent State’s communications department.

  1. Create a specific Emergency Hotline for Kent students on Halloween. Instead of the typical 911 call, Kent campus and city police should have a line that students can call specifically on Halloween night if they are in trouble. This number should be put on posters and communicated to students around campus.
  2. Have a seminar with a professional self-defense instructor. Students love going to see the different speakers for free on campus, why not take advantage of this and teach student how to handle a dangerous situation. This would be extremely beneficial to students before a weekend like Halloween.
  3. Send a mass email to all students addressing this weekend. Kent State has to have a plan to help keep students safe. An email explaining Kent State’s precautions and precautions for students should be communicated before the festivities start.

These are only three ways that Kent State could help out students before Halloween weekend. Can you think of others ways that Kent State can help students prepare for the party?

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The best way to enjoy some fresh air is a walk through the park, literally.

This weekend I decided to visit some Kent-local parks to get a scope for what they’re like. There’s something about the fresh air and nature that makes me feel free from everyday stress. I went to three, all which were very close to campus, to get a little escape.

One of the benches at The Portage Hike and Bike Trail

My first stop was The Portage Hike and Bike Trail. Apparently the asphalt and crushed limestone trail goes on for 13 miles, but I only visited the Tannery Park Access section. It was perfect for picnics! There were quite a few picnic tables and even a cute, little charcoal grill available to use.

Once you walk out of the initial picnic area, you find the trail that follows the Cuyahoga National Heritage River. The water adds a calming feel to the scene and the trails aren’t too extreme.

I didn’t like this park’s location. It’s right by downtown Kent and you can hear cars while you’re hiking in certain areas. Also, you can see people’s houses from different parts of the trail. I prefer my parks to be in the middle of nowhere, but when I just want to go right down the road, the Portage Hike and Bike Trail will do.

Trails at the Jessie Smith Wildlife Reserve

Second, I adventured over to the Jessie Smith Wildlife Reserve. As soon as I pulled up, I saw about six deer eating at the edge of the woods and knew this was my kind of park. It was much more quiet than the first stop and the woods were dense. I loved that it was overgrown enough to let me escape Kent but hiked enough that the trails were clear.

This park’s only downfall, to me, is the fact that there are train tracks going along the one side of the park. Although a train didn’t go by during the time I was wondering, I’m sure the obnoxious whistle would ruin the middle-of-no-where feel.

Sand volleyball court at Chase Park

Last stop was Chase Park. It seemed to be the smallest, yet it was the most commercialized. I personally prefer the densely wooded parks with lots of hiking, but this one is kind of cool. There’s a track outlining the entire park and off the track in different areas rest some interesting stuff. In one area there’s a small play ground set up. If you keep walking, you’ll find a sand volleyball in the middle of the woods (which I think is awesome!) and shortly following is a little work out area.

Even though small parks aren’t really my thing. This one has lot to offer if you want a good work out. If nothing else, the fresh air beats the rec’s atmosphere!

It started to get dark outside, as you can see in the Chase Park picture, so that’s where my adventures ended. There are more Kent-local parks to check out, let me know what you think of them!

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