Sophomore Dania Arias wins a free semester

By Alyssa Davis | Posted November 19, 2015


Sitting in the stands at Alumni Stadium Dania Arias was a spectator to the homecoming game like any other until her name was called, and then everything changed.

She couldn’t believe it. She saw her sister and friends screaming in jubilation, but it took a minute before reality set in. Shaking and in shock she walked onto the field to receive her prize. A prize that she thought was impossible to win because of the dozens of other hopefuls.

Arias won a “Semester On Us” at Kean’s homecoming on Saturday Oct. 24, which is a contest organized by Kean Xpedition that all students are welcomed to enter. The lucky winner, in this case Arias, walks away tuition free for the upcoming semester.

“When I heard my name I seriously was in shock,” Arias said. “I felt so happy and blessed. I could not believe it, I saw my sister and friends screaming and I was just speechless. I was thinking ‘God are you playing with me?’ And then I thought about my father and how this was going to be very special for him, and how incredible it was that it happened to me.”

Arias is a global business major with a minor in communications. She’s a dedicated student who appreciates the opportunity of higher education and who realizes the sacrifices that her family has made to make it possible.

“This prize meant to me giving back to my dad that works so hard to pay for my education,” Arias said. “I am very grateful to Kean Xpedition for doing this contest because if it was not for this contest my father would have to worry like every year to pay for it. Even though it is just for a semester it is a blessing.”

Not only did Arias get free tuition for a semester, but she also received at $300 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble, which could be used to purchase college textbooks, a MacBook Pro computer and a reserved parking spot for the whole of Spring 2016.

Kean spokeswoman Margaret McCorry said that the “Semester on Us” giveaway is a waiver of payment and is therefore not funded. The Barnes and Noble gift certificate and the MacBook Pro are funded through University Relations, which has a marketing budget for promotional items.

All Arias needed to win was her name and her Kean I.D. Before the game, in which the Cougars hosted Salisbury University, her friends urged her to enter the contest. Little did she know that she would leave with so much.

Arias was overwhelmed with gratitude about the gifts and can’t believe she was the one to win them. The theme for homecoming this year was “Carnival Rio,” and it was definitely a celebration for her.

“It is an honor and I feel proud to have this amazing opportunity,” she said.

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