Niagara University held its second annual FirstFest last week, which provided several different activities, including a showing of the summer blockbuster “Jurassic World” on Tuesday, a club/job fair on Wednesday and a barbecue on Saturday that was followed by an outdoor performance by national recording artist Echosmith.

The entire week was formatted to introduce new students into the social scene of Niagara University while giving them the opportunity to make new friends in the process. Over the past two years, this is an idea that has helped spur the incoming students into a comfortable mindset that will stay with them for the duration of the adjustment period that comes with moving into a new school.

FirstFest 2015

“Even though the weather was a little warm, it’s a great way for students to become more acquainted with each other,” said sophomore Wilson Lockwood. “The food was good. I would’ve liked to see some water activities because of the heat.”

Despite the high temperatures, FirstFest is still an event that can appeal to all ages. Dr. Kevin Hearn, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, said the event helps give students a sense that they are a part of something now that they are members of the Niagara University community.

“If [students] feel a part of something, there’s a better sense of community,” said Dr. Hearn, who credited Campus Activities Director Mati Ortiz and her team for coordinating FirstFest. “That commitment to the community becomes not only a commitment to their involvement in these clubs, but also a commitment to their own academic success.” Dr. Hearn went on to say that he wants students to feel connected to the university because it puts them in a better place to be successful.

For more information about how students can get involved at Niagara, visit  or visit the Office of Campus Activities in the lower level of the Gallagher Center.

Article by James Burns, a sophomore Academic Exploration Program student. Photos by Chris Cornier, a senior communication studies major.

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