Trail of the Torch brings FIU’s largest tradition to Homecoming week

Courtesy of Beatriz Newborn.

Nimechi Ikechi-uko/Contributing Writer

On July 20, 2017, President Rosenberg sent an email to the entire student body, including staff and faculty members, that began with, “In a little over 100 days, we celebrate one of the most exciting times of the year… Homecoming Week!”  While his words expressed unbridled enthusiasm, there is nothing quite like the actual week of events to FIU students.  One hundred days have quickly passed, and celebrations begin with one symbolic feat.

Homecoming is all about spirit and traditions; to students, it’s all about Panther pride. Blue and gold bleeds through students’ veins just in time for the first of these events: The Trail of the Torch.

The annual event has become the largest on-campus tradition at Florida International University, sponsored by the FIU Alumni Association and Student Government each Fall. For 14 years, Trail of the Torch has been a highly-spirited event which became one of FIU’s most symbolic and endeared customs.

When the Trail began, students would walk with the torch from BBC to MMC, passing the torch from alumni to alumni, staff to staff and student to student. It was first part of Week of Welcome but in 2014 due to heavy weather it was postponed to October, and that was how Trail of the Torch became a core event for Homecoming.

“The tradition of lighting the torch symbolizes that we are torchbearer. We carry traditions from one generation to the next to light the torch of opportunity, knowledge and hope. To ignite passion,” said Beatriz Newborn, manager of student & parent philanthropy in the office of alumni Relations & annual Giving.

This is also done to recognize the accomplishments of students.  

For the last two years, it has also become a pep rally for Homecoming week. The Trail of the Torch begins at the FIU housing quad at MMC where all the vendors and organizations are set-up, with an average of over a thousand students in attendance. The last student carries the torch to the back of the Graham Center with the Golden Dazzlers, cheerleaders, the marching Band and Roary, FIU’s mascot.

Courtesy of Beatriz Newborn.

Students can expect more entertainment this year. A student band called “Above The Skyline,” will perform. Various vendors will also be in attendance for students to meet community entrepreneurs, providing students with the possibility of scholarships. Additionally, there will be food and giveaways.

Some vendors that will be making an appearance are Night Owl Cookies, specialTEA Lounge & Cafe, Izzy’s Fish & Oyster, Boston Market and many more.

Philanthropy is at the center of this event, as funds are being raised to support student scholarships. All donors will receive a Panther T-shirt. Only students, alumni and staff who “swipe in” and get a wristband will be able to get the event giveaway. There will be two tents where the swipe in will take place and there will also be ambassadors walking around the housing quad swiping people in.

“I look forward to seeing this event come alive and the lighting of the torch, because it ignites the panther spirit and family, it symbolizes unity,” said Natalie Mendez, a junior majoring in biology, minoring in psychology and also the president of student ambassadors.

Bring some Panther spirit and kick off the week with Trail of the Torch at 6 p.m. Monday Oct. 30.

Courtesy of Beatriz Newborn.

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