The Center Ballroom on the third floor of the Donna E. Shalala Student Center was filled with the sound of students paying homage to their university in the preliminary alma mater competition Friday night as part of Homecoming week. Federación de Estudiantes Cubanos (FEC), United Black Students (UBS) and Association of Commuter Students (ACS) were named the alma mater competition finalists.
Eight teams competed in singing the University of Miami’s alma mater as well as renditions of their favorite songs but using lyrics about the university. Songs ranged from hits by current artists like Fetty Wap and One Direction to songs by older artists like Journey and The Jackson 5. Besides singing, each organization attempted to incorporate dances and props into their performances.
One noteworthy performance came from U Hecht, a group from Hecht Residential Tower, who used umbrellas for their performance of “Umbrella” by Rihanna and then turned them towards the audience to reveal the letters “ABC,” a transition into the upbeat anthem by The Jackson 5. Although the performance earned U Hecht a standing ovation, the group was not chosen as a finalist.
“[It] feels real good, we made it last year and it’s all about having fun, but we’re in it to win,” said Ryan Garcia, one of the performers for ACS.
The opening ceremony at the Rat was packed with members of student organizations Friday, with the honor society Omicron Delta Kappa ringing in the week with the chimes of its bell and students singing their cheer songs as they tried to hype up their members. Homecoming’s theme is “For My City” and for the opening ceremonies, each student organization had to create a model of a famous location in the city of Miami that was assigned to them by the Homecoming Executive Committee (HEC).
For each student organization, making a good first impression was important. FEC, the winner, earned 50 points, which helped determine the overall homecoming winner at the end of the week.
They used plastic, cardboard and dominoes to represent the Cuban culture and clay from the stadium to make a knee-high model of Marlins Stadium.
“We were super excited to get the building, the hardest part was what to make it out of, but we decided to use the recyclable cardboard and dominoes to represent what our organization is about,” said Christian Perez, the FEC member in charge of making the structure. “We won two years in a row so we want to do a three-peat, and hearing we got first place puts us in a great start. We are so happy.”
Coming in second was the Council of International Studios and Organizations (COISO), which made a model of Sun Life Stadium using cardboard for the exterior, printer toners for lamps around the stadium and paper mache for the grass.
“The building process was challenging, to create different layers of the stadium and cutting the toners was difficult. But it was rewarding to see our efforts recognized,” COISO representative for Homecoming Rick Lin said. “We wanted to accurately portray the stadium, which all students of Miami love. Many memories have been created for the students and the athletes.”
Heather Stevens, assistant to the vice president of student affairs, Teddy L’Houtellier, sustainability manager at UM and Shelley Pamphile, administrative assistant of the Rat judged the models based on the materials used – which had to be recyclable – and their creativity.
“As Miami Hurricanes we care for our city, the university and our fellow Canes,” Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Whitely said.
Those who placed will continue onto the alma mater finals on Thursday at 10:45 a.m. on the Rock.