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Kappa Sigma Tau Keeps Raft Tradition Afloat

In three words or less, what is Kappa Float?

“Big giant boats,” Carson Towns, President of Kappa Sigma Tau, said, referring to the tradition of pulling several rafts together and floating down the river as one giant “Mega-Boat.”

This year’s Mega-Boat, pictured above, reportedly combined six rafts and roughly 30 people in total. Competing to steal the most paddles from other boats is another tradition of the float, a tradition which Ben Johnson has allegedly won both this year and last year.

But the event is not all shenanigans.

Vice President of Kappa Derek Schumacher chose “spontaneous, fun and relaxing,” as the three words he thinks best describe the event.

“There’s a lot of spontaneity because we show up at night and the only official thing we have planned is to eat,” Schumacher said. “Otherwise, it’s just visiting, playing games and having a relaxing evening together before we go to bed and get up to float the river in the morning. But you never know what to expect: people are running from boat to boat taking paddles, we build a Mega-Boat with all the rafts, etcetera.

“As for ‘fun,’ I think if you’ve been on the trip, it speaks for itself,” Schumacher said. “And I say ‘relaxing’ because, although you are physically paddling down a river for three hours, there are times where you can just sit back, let the current take you and look at God’s creation while in the peace of being in nature.”

Schumacher sees Kappa Float as a way to promote campus unity. 

“I see Kappa Float as something meant for everyone to be able to come together and just have a good weekend, regardless of what club you’re in, regardless of if you’re a senior or a freshman. It is truly meant to be a campus wide event,” Schumacher said. “You hear people talk about club unity, and I really think this event has the potential to carry that out.”

Schumacher also said through this event, you get to see people it might otherwise be hard to spend time with.

“I’ve got friends from other clubs who I don’t get to see much because a lot of what we do as upperclassmen is with our clubs or with our majors, and this is a time I get to spend with my friends I don’t see anywhere else,” Schumacher said.

Towns shared a similar sentiment.

“I mean, floating is great, but it’s the memories you make with the friends you bring,” Towns said.

In the Talon article covering the float’s 40th anniversary, Kappa Alumnus Ben Meaders said at its peak,  a third of the campus would attend the event.

This year, there were only around 60 people, down from around 80 last year. 

“The more people we have, the better time it is,” Towns said. “It’s always going to be great, but the more people we get, the better it is for everyone, from more conversations to more boats for Mega-Boat.”

So, what is Kappa Float?

It’s a longstanding annual tradition at Oklahoma Christian University where the men of Kappa Sigma Tau invite the student body to enjoy a weekend of floating down the Illinois River in Tahlequah, OK.

But it’s also spontaneity, fun, relaxation, unity, friends, memories… and “big giant boats.”

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