Seniors enjoy free food, activities during picnic at Lakeside Patio

Senior Irene Mutiganzi receives food from Shorty's BBQ at the Senior Picnic Sunday evening on the Lakeside Patio. Erum Kidwai // Staff Photographer
Senior Irene Mutiganzi receives food from Shorty’s BBQ at the Senior Picnic Sunday evening on the Lakeside Patio. Erum Kidwai // Staff Photographer

The University of Miami experience came full circle for seniors on Sunday, when the Office of the President hosted a picnic reminiscent of the one held during freshman orientation.

From 5-7 p.m. on the Lakeside Patio, seniors could enjoy free Shorty’s BBQ, Cold Stone Creamery, giveaways and a photo booth with UM-themed props. According to Director of Student Activities Joshua Brandfon, the picnic was a collaborative effort between various departments and student organizations on campus.

“It’s just an opportunity to kind of hang out with your classmates and get some good food and just kind of relax,” Brandfon said.

The event is one of many pre-commencement festivities that began with the Commencement Ball on April 2 and will continue next week with Senior Day at the Rat April 18 and the senior event at Canes Carnival on April 21.

Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely and President Julio Frenk both attended to support the event and mingle with departing students.

“I think that’s really nice to see that kind of interaction between the student body and higher-up in the administration,” senior Mazieyar Azad said.

Despite dark clouds looming overhead, the picnic stayed dry except for a few minutes of drizzle as President Frenk addressed attendees from the Lakeside Patio Stage. He said the idea behind the event was to provide closure to the seniors’ UM experience, which began with a similar picnic in their freshman year. Both picnics aim to unite students and spark friendships.

“The idea was to close the cycle,” President Frenk said. “Everyone knows the best part of the college experience is the friendships you developed.”

Senior Caroline Lorenzo agreed.

“It really brings a flashback to being a new student here at the President’s Picnic,” Lorenzo said. “It’s basically like a coming back and a joining together, from our day one to our last day here at UM.”

As President Frenk continued to express his thanks to Student Government and his pride in the senior class, the clouds cleared and the sun returned to the Lakeside Patio. Graduation is quickly approaching in early May, and senior Julio Garcia is thankful for opportunities to gather with classmates.

“It’s a great finale for bringing everyone that you started with,” Julio Garcia said. “Knowing you’re all in it together, I think that’s a really special thing about it.”