Orange Festival reminded campus of traditions, history

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The University of Miami flooded its campus with orange on Friday to establishing and define the first year of its newest tradition.

Student Government (SG) hosted the first ever Orange Festival on the Rock and Green to remind the university of its history and traditions.

The lack of any schoolwide celebration in the spring prompted Melissa Guller, SG chief of staff and Iron Arrow member, to plan such an event.

“The students … have a lot of pride in the U, and … we’re all generally happy to come here,” she said. “But I think we’re lacking on education on UM traditions.”

The event featured a book signing for Sebastian’s new children’s book, Iron Arrow tappings, specials at the Rat, free orange food and shirts, and a pledge campaign to not step on the seal.

There were also traditions tables where students can go to  learn about different facets of UM’s history, as well as different facts about the campus’s traditions. Anyone who goes to every table received a free orange shirt.

In order to involve more students, many student organizations were asked to depict various traditions by painting a canvas.

“We’re going to have all of these really fun things, but it’s not meant to be like Homecoming or Greek Week in that it’s competitive,” Guller said.

Additionally, students with the craziest orange outfits had their pictures taken and uploaded to Facebook. The person whose picture received the most likes won a gift card to the Rat.

The biggest push was for people to wear orange, said Jonny Diaz, chair of the Orange Festival Committee.

“The events themselves are nice, but they can change,” Diaz said. “No matter what club you’re in, no matter what school you’re in, the one constant in all of our lives is orange.”

Diaz’s parents, who both attended UM, were thrilled when he told them about the new event that resembled Carni Gras, an event they attended while in school.

“It was a nice event to celebrate being a part of the university,” said Josie Diaz, who earned her master’s degree in accounting in 1988.

Carni Gras, as Josie Diaz remembered it, consisted of booths, food and performances on the intramural fields to bring the university together in the spring. She first attended the event her senior year of high school while she was in the process of choosing her college.

“It was a really nice event for the university and for … prospective students to see what it’s like to be a part of the Cane community,” she said.

When the festival ended, both Guller and Diaz felt that the UM community had a better understanding and appreciation for the history of school traditions, and that Orange Fest will evolve into a highlight of UM’s spring calendar.

“I hope that in 10 years, everyone knows that the Orange Festival exists because the orange is the foundation of our colors,” Guller said. “They know to wear orange the day before spring break, and they know why we don’t step on the seal, or why the Ibis is our mascot.”

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