University of Miami students across campus throw up the U on a daily basis, donning the school’s orange, white and green. However, not many know the significance behind the university’s adoption of its spirit-based traditions, which is why a group of students decided to work together to bring back a celebration aimed at teaching students about UM traditions.
UM’s fifth annual Orange Festival, held March 23 in front of the Shalala Student Center (SSC), is a four-hour event filled with activities, free food and giveaways to commemorate the university’s history, traditions and pride.
Junior Coleman Reardon knows how fun and educational the Orange Festival is after he attended his freshman year. He said though he had no idea what the celebration was, the abundance of orange decorations surrounding the SSC was enough for him to stop and take notice.
Reardon said that this year he hopes he will learn about how traditions have evolved from past to present.
“There was a Facebook post today talking about how the actual U logo was made,” said Reardon, the Student Government vice-president elect. “I don’t think many people really think about the origination of the traditions.”
The festival’s focus is to educate students through interactive activities and conversations with student organizations. Some of the organizations tabling at the event include Category 5, the university’s spirit programming board, and Iron Arrow Honor Society, the highest honor bestowed by UM.
Brandon Gross, associate Director of the Student Center Complex and co-advisor of the Orange Festival, said a student brought the initial idea for the event to him five years ago.
The student wanted to bring a similar atmosphere of school spirit during Homecoming and Alumni Weekend in the fall to the spring semester.
Chair of the Orange Festival Aaron Gluck said an event such as the Orange Festival is important to the student body and university community particularly during the spring semester.
“There was a lack of spirit in the spring semester – no football, no homecoming … this is really an event for us to show off who we are as ‘Canes and really get to experience the traditions that make us a university,” Gluck said.
The Orange Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23 on the Student Center Promenade.