Music, dancing, lantern-making and student connection took center stage during the 2022-2023 academic year. While annual events continued to grow, new traditions blazed a path for future students. Check out some of the biggest events from this school year:
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15)
Salsa dancing, delicious food, interactive events and a U-statue decked out in colorful banners took over Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), a month-long observance of Latin culture aimed at celebrating and understanding the history and achievements of Hispanic Americans.
The Alliance of Latin American Students (ALAS), the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) and the Latin Leadership Council opened the month with a culture pop-up where several clubs tabled.
Throughout the month, students attended a networking event, a roundtable “Real Talk” discussion, and a movie screening of “Coco.” HHM ended with a closing ceremony at the Lakeside Patio full of music, food and hat giveaways.
A Taste of Africa: Ada Yandje (Oct. 20)
The annual African Students Union (ASU) fashion show and banquet returned to campus with more models, brands, and attendees. Following the theme of Ada Yandje — which translates to “traditional Elegance,” student models in gowns and tailored pieces from various African clothing brands.
As audience members ate food from a traditional African menu, they watched models strut down the Shalala Ballroom and cheered on members of African dance team Oleku as they brought their talents to the stage.
Lantern Festival (Oct. 21)
Hundreds of glimmering lights radiated from student-customized lanterns on Lake Osceola on Oct. 21. A collaboration between the Asian American Students Association (AASA) and the School of Architecture (USoA), the festival took inspiration from traditional lantern and mid-autumn festivals celebrated across Asia.
Representatives from Asian student organizations signed cards given to attendees as they visited different cultural booths with various games and educational activities. Some of the featured organizations included the Filipino Students Association, the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers and the Muslim Students of Miami. After visiting five booths, students were awarded with boba, mooncakes and water lanterns to decorate and cast into the lake.
Flo Rida Concert (Nov. 3)
UM students held the weight of the one and only Flo Rida as he surfed across the crowd at the 2022 Homecoming concert. Rida popped champagne bottles and dazzled the crowd with hit songs like “My House,” “Club Can’t Handle Me” and “Good Feeling.”
The Miami rapper captivated the crowd with his high energy and even brought students onstage to dance with him. Throwing up the U, Rida’s concert on Thursday, Nov. 3 was a high-energy kick-off to Homecoming weekend.
Black Awareness Month (Feb. 1 – March 1)
The Black Awareness Month (BAM) Committee chose the theme of “Intersectionalities: Sharing Our Stories” for this February’s BAM. The committee hosted a variety of events to educate, celebrate and cultivate experiences amongst the Black community at UM.
Activities included a celebration of culture at the men’s and women’s basketball games, a “Dance Around the World” event, the first ever hair show hosted by Hairology and the BCCXBAM exhibit called “VISIONS: Interpretations of Afrofuturism” in celebration of Black culture. A networking mixer, “Real Talk” roundtable, day of service and a church service ended the event-filled month.
Though the Hairology show and the Afrofuturism exhibit debuted this year, both events saw hundreds of students in attendance, a reflection of Black students’ desire to create safe, supportive spaces for the community and promote representation for current and future ‘Canes.
Shorts Miami Film Festival (Feb. 3-5)
What started as a pre-pandemic idea from UM School of Communication faculty blossomed into a full-blown, three-day film festival with hundreds of attendees. Its premiere year, the Shorts Miami Film Festival (SMIFF) took over the Bill Cosford Cinema from Feb. 3-5.
Narrative and documentary films were submitted from all across the world, and a special screening on night three featured an international focus on Serbian films. Festival attendees had the opportunity to speak with some of the actors and directors about their creative decisions and ideas at a reception held each night.
DragOutX (March 28)
SpectrUM, UM’s largest undergraduate LGBTQ+ organization, blew the audience away with this year’s DragOutX show. The annual drag show took place on March 28 and featured performances by student drag performers and drag professionals Tiffany Fantasia, CC Glitzer and Spikey Van Dykey.
Hosted by Fantasia, the show raised money for Trans Lifeline, a trans-led organization that works to support the trans community. Students also got to dress up and give captivating performances that were judged in friendly competition — this year’s winners were Joseph Ryder and Mother Wood.