-Kelsie Walters, Contributing writer
Clinton businesses and churches welcomed Mississippi College students back to school in the Welcome Week event “Back to the Bricks” on Thursday evening, August 28. This annual event allows both new and returning students to get a feel for the city of Clinton and to learn what it has to offer them. As MC students made their way down the brick streets of downtown Clinton, they encountered tables set up by MC clubs and organizations, booths set up by local establishments, and finally their dinner.
The journey began with tables set up by various MC clubs and organizations such as the bass fishing club, the clay shooting club, the investment club, the debate team, and many more. MC clubs and organizations set up on the brick streets alongside local businesses to attract freshmen and transfers. This was a notable change, as the clubs and organizations formerly got together to promote their groups on a separate day. They shared information on interest meetings and how to get involved with campus activities.
The main focus of the evening, however, was the central stretch, where local businesses and churches strove to give students a positive first impression. These booths offered a variety of promotional materials such as bottles and cups, sunglasses, snacks, pens, business cards, coupons, games, promotional fliers, and door prize drawings to get students’ attention.
The majority of the businesses said that they had not yet decided what sort of specialty discounts they will be offering students this semester. A few, however, came prepared with handouts announcing unique bargains catered to low-budget college life.
Walgreens distributed fliers proclaiming their “Choctaw Wednesdays,” when MC faculty/staff and students can present their ID to receive 15% off their purchase. Cups Espresso Café provided students with loyalty cards and pointed out that their 16 oz. drip coffee is $1.55 for students. Presenting a student ID will get MC students 10% off at the Froghead Grill as well as Southern Eye Care of Clinton for those who do not have eye care insurance. Southern Eye Care also mentioned that they offer an additional 10% off military discount regardless of insurance.
Many of the businesses whose storefronts faced the festivities also took advantage of the opportunity to open their doors to the increased traffic, making the overall atmosphere of the event open and inviting. At the journey’s end, where students sat to eat their dinner catered by the Caf, oldies music wafted from a makeshift stage where door prize winners were announced.
This was the fifth year of “Back to the Bricks,” and Tara Lytal, director of the Main Street Clinton program, called it “the best one to date,” with an estimated 1000 students attending and over 60 local businesses participating. “Back to the Bricks” not only allowed the city of Clinton to welcome MC students back to school after summer break, but it also encouraged students to focus on networking with one another and local businesses, churches, and other establishments in the town they now call home.