Hurricane Productions and Category 5 team up to host Miami vs. Alabama watch party

Students gather in the Shalala Student Center Ballrooms to watch the UM Alabama game sponsored by Hurricane Productions and Category 5 on Sept. 4. Unexpected rain forced a last-minute change of venue from the Lakeside Village volleyball courts.
Students gather in the Shalala Student Center Ballrooms to watch the UM Alabama game sponsored by Hurricane Productions and Category 5 on Sept. 4. Unexpected rain forced a last-minute change of venue from the Lakeside Village volleyball courts. Photo credit: Emma Dominguez

Hurricane Productions and Category 5 hosted a watch party for students to celebrate the Canes football season opener against the University of Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 4, and despite shifting plans due to inclement weather and a blowout at the hands of the best college football team in the country, attendees and organizers consider the event a success.

The watch party was a collaboration between Hurricane Productions and Category 5, two of the University of Miami’s largest on-campus spirit organizations. Sophomore Lindsey Faucher, a member of Hurricane Productions, says she enjoys partnering with Category 5 to host student events.

“I like working with them because they’re a very spirited org and so it’s nice to have the energy of HP and Cat 5 together,” Faucher said.

With forecasts correctly calling for heavy rain, the watch party, which was supposed to be held on the Lakeside Volleyball courts, was moved to the Shalala Student Center ballrooms the morning of the event.

Senior Camille Awono, who is a member of the Olympics committee for Category 5, says that the organization always prepares for Miami’s unpredictable weather.

After opening to students at 3 p.m., attendees were greeted by volunteers from both organizations and given free pins, stickers and stick-on phone wallets. Additionally, Whip ‘n Dip provided special, UM-themed ice cream to attendees.

Awono says that while it feels great to see people enjoy the event in the moment, she is usually most happy to see satisfied attendees after its conclusion.

“It’s after the fact. Seeing people wearing the t-shirts, seeing people with the fanny packs we give out, it means a lot,” Awono said. “We put a lot of effort into it so seeing people appreciating that is nice.”

Sophomore Lindsey Faucher, a member of Hurricane Productions, agreed with Awono, saying she gets joy from seeing students enjoy the events they put on.

“I feel like we spend a lot of time putting in the effort to create these events and brainstorming ideas of what the students want and thinking about what food we have and what activities to have, and so going from getting all the quotes and vendors and seeing it in action and seeing people enjoy the event is always really cool to see,” Faucher said.

Anna Ceccarelli, a freshman attendee, says she felt comfortable attending despite fears of COVID-19 due to the safety precautions taken by both the event organizers and the university.

“I definitely wanted to watch the game in a safe environment that wasn’t crazy, so I thought that a school event was a decent place to do that,” said Ceccarelli. During the game, masks were required at all times, and students could only eat and drink on the outdoor balcony of the Shalala center.

For her first event as a freshman, Ceccarelli says the watch party was a great way to destress over the long weekend.

“It’s nice to have a place on campus to go that we don’t have to pay for and worry about anything,” Ceccarelli said.

Ryan Koskeinen, a junior, says he was drawn to the watch party by both the opportunity to hang out with other students in person, and the opportunity to go home with some free merchandise.

“I like getting the free stuff they give out, some of it is cool, and obviously, being able to watch the game as well, hanging out with all the people, especially since the pandemic,” Koskeinen said.

Both Category 5 and Hurricane Productions have many events planned as the football season gets underway. Category 5 will be hosting FanZones at several home games at Hard Rock Stadium, including next week’s game against Appalachian State, along with events for other sports throughout the semester.