Kalamazoo Experiential Learning Center

Kalamazoo Experiential Learning Center (KELC) connects college students to our community. Our ability to produce events is based on four key principles: educate, collaborate, innovate and reward. When there is a challenge, we thrive. It’s boots on the streets and laughter without fear of the future. This is experiential learning.

In 2023, our team created a three-event series specifically designed to reimagine the Arcadia Creek Festival Place (ACFP). The five-hour popup series, called Festival Fridays, resembled a festival with live bands, merchandise vendors, food trucks and beverages. The education that it provided helped other festivals imagine their festival at ACFP. It’s challenging to host a festival, but by being at the events, they witnessed proper setup and design, tricks-of-the-trades and how to connect event plans to implementation. They could feel the vision of their festival.

However, it didn’t stop there. Our college students showed how to innovate decorations, games and activities, and support vendor engagement that created a well-connected pop-up festival. The reward was that through this opportunity to intentionally give a “hand” to other event coordinators, we could create believability. Events are empowered through believing that you can create and execute your vision.

At KELC, we are inspired to re-imagine. Event opportunities are brought to Western Michigan University classrooms for event management students to explore the challenge, research trends and KPI’s, and then imagine the possibilities of the event concept. It’s more than just “Town & Gown.” Event imagination requires knowledge, collaboration, innovation and rewards that drive individuals to take on the challenge.

For more information, visit: www.experientiallearningcenter.org