Texas Tech University

Six Things First-Year Students Must Experience This Semester

K'Leigh Sims

August 30, 2016

First Year

From football games to eating at the StrEat food truck, the fall semester is filled with experiences every Red Raider should have.

With campus bustling with students this first week of class, first-year students might find the sheer amount of activities available to them a little overwhelming. So we've narrowed down the list to six things first-year students, both freshmen and transfers, must do to experience Texas Tech at its absolute best.

Cheer on the Red Raiders at a Texas Tech football game


There's no better place to be on a Saturday than at Jones AT&T Stadium for a Red Raider football game. The Masked Rider runs across the field with power and grace, the Goin' Band from Raiderland performs the coolest halftime shows, and the proud chanting of “Raider Power!” sends chills down your spine every time as thousands of fans cheer on the scarlet and black.

Before every home game, students can participate in RaiderGate – Texas Tech's official student tailgating section in the R1 parking lot behind the Chemistry building – where almost 10,000 students get pumped up for Red Raider football, listen to live bands and have fun with friends.



Explore art exhibits at the First Friday Art Trail

Just a few miles east of campus in the Lubbock Cultural District is the First Friday Art Trail, a free, self-guided public art event that brings together collectors, artists and the community for an evening of art, music and fun from 6-9 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. Students can grab a map and explore the trail through the official venues (one of them being the Museum of Texas Tech University) for an ever-changing array of art exhibits or hop onto one of five free First Friday trolleys and ride to the galleries along the downtown route. To see the venues, visit the First Friday Art Trail website.



Welcome back Texas Tech alumni during homecoming week

In the middle of the semester is one of the best weeks of fall: Texas Tech homecoming. As we welcome back alumni and crown a new homecoming king and queen, Student Union and Activities offers events every day of the week leading up to the big game, including the homecoming parade, Rowdy Raider Rally, the bonfire, pep rally and more. The whole week is dedicated to school spirit while having fun with your friends.

This year's homecoming week occurs Oct. 10-15. To see the schedule of events, visit the Student Union and Activities website.



Eat at the StrEat food truck

In a hurry for lunch between classes? Stop by the StrEat food truck for creative, unique food choices like a Bar-ba-Bacon StrEat taco, corn hash or churro chips for dessert. The food truck serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at various locations around campus and offers vegetarian and gluten-free options. Students can use their dining plan or Raider card to purchase food at StrEat in addition to cash, check and credit cards.

StrEat is just one of many unique eateries scattered across campus. To see a full list of dining locations, visit Hospitality Services' website.


Leisure Pool

Float on the 645-foot lazy river at the leisure pool

Before the summer season dwindles, students can take a break from classes and float on the 645-foot lazy river at the leisure pool. Located at the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center, the leisure pool has been ranked as one of the nation's best campus pools and as one of the best extras on campus. In addition to the lazy river, the leisure pool has an eight-lane lap pool, 25-person hot tub, diving well and a wet deck for tanning where students can relax.

To see the hours of operation, visit the Rec Sports website.


Carol of Lights

See campus light up for the holidays at Carol of Lights

The fall semester wouldn't be complete without one of Texas Tech's largest and oldest traditions: Carol of Lights. The event kicks off the holiday season the Red Raider way with a celebration that includes more than 25,000 red, orange and white lights that illuminate 13 buildings on campus. Throw in the carols sung by the Texas Tech choirs; hot chocolate; a 38-foot-tall Christmas tree; a torch-light processional by the Masked Rider, Saddle Tramps and High Riders; a 20-foot wreath made of fresh cut pine limbs on the Geosciences building; and 3,000 luminaries placed around Memorial Circle, and it's definitely a Raiderland tradition you don't want to miss. 

Sponsored by the Texas Tech Residence Halls Association, preparation for the event begins in late September Physical Plant employees begin stringing all of the lights on the buildings surrounding Memorial Circle. The lights are all connected together and are turned on by the flip of a switch at the Carol of Lights celebration.

This year's 58th annual Carol of Lights will take place Dec. 2. For more history and facts about the tradition, visit the Carol of Lights website.

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