The Trail of the Torch Event To Ignite at BBC

Vanessa Adrian /Contributing Writer

The Alumni Association, Student Programming Council and Campus Life are teaming up to host the second annual Trail of the Torch event at the Biscayne Bay Campus today, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. in the Panther Square Plaza.

The Trail of the Torch was a tradition only at the Modesto Maidique Campus until last year, when it was first held at BBC. Four students are nominated by faculty members to be torchbearers.

Senior Kaila Jospitre, director of Communications and Caribbean Bash and one of last year’s torchbearers said she was honored to have participated in the event.

“Last year, we had FIU football players, cheerleaders, Roary was there and it was just a fun moment in homecoming,” the marketing major said. “It just brought a different aspect to BBC.”

Applications to become a torchbearer were sent to the Alumni Association who then sent the list to faculty for judging. Winners were notified by email, but will not be revealed to the public until the event.

Students were selected based off their academics, Greek life affiliation, student athlete representation and by their desire to leave their mark at FIU, according to Beatriz Newborn, manager, student and parent philanthropy for the Alumni Association.

“It’s a really big honor to be a torchbearer whether it’s in BBC or MMC,” Jospitre said. “The torch represents knowledge, service and opportunity.”

Shontae Khaleel White, the student engagement manager at Campus Life, said the torchbearer tradition was originally created by the Alumni Association, but for the first time, SPC will be partnering with them this year.

“I advise homecoming on this campus,” White said. “So my role is really just to find space, finding a platform for it to fit in within the week here and helping them get the resources together to have the event.”

The BBC homecoming ceremony will be similar to the one at MMC.

“At the beginning of the event, we’ll have a couple of speeches by the student body president here and one of the faculty staff will also speak as well as the vice chair of homecoming here at BBC, and kind of give us a background of the event,” said White. “Once that starts we’ll light the first torch.”

The torch will be passed down by the students chosen to represent their category– academics, Greek affiliation, student athleticism and spirit– until it reaches the final student standing by the panther statue outside the plaza, where the torch will be lit.

“We talk about how the legacy is important for their FIU experience to be good students and good student leaders,” White said.

Planning for the event was easy, according to White, because the meetings helped plan where the torch is going to go, the path the students will walk and who will speak.

“Last year, we had it during the day and we couldn’t see the torch,” said White. “But this time it will be at night, it’ll be better.”

Steffi Reyes, a senior majoring in communication arts, received an email about the event and will be attending it for the first time this year.

Jessica Barrios, a junior majoring in broadcast journalism, previously attended the event but will not be attending again this year.

“I went to one when I was a freshman,” Barrios said. “It was fun. It’s something for when you just start school. You want to get in that panther spirit.”

Newborn said the event is different at MMC. Unlike BBC, where the block party will be after the lighting of the torch, MMC has it before the lighting, she said.

“It’s a huge spirit event to get everybody on board for our homecoming game on Saturday,” Newborn said. “We make sure the applications are legit. What have you done on campus? How have you been involved? How have you already made an impact on our university? It’s that freshman that goes above and beyond that we want to recognize.”

The event had originally been scheduled for the beginning of the semester as a welcome back event, according to Newborn, but because of this year’s hurricane season they decided to move it to homecoming week. The Alumni Association, Newborn said, planned on combining their ceremony with homecoming to get students more involved and excited about the homecoming game.

“We want to make sure we have a big crowd, to make sure everybody is ready to cheer on the panthers,” Newborn said.

The Alumni Association expanded the event to BBC, she said, so that more students would be able to attend.

“One of the things that we wanted to do is really reach out to all panthers and we extend over to our BBC campus because obviously it’s our second largest campus with most students,” Newborn said. “The only difference is that 50 percent of their classes must be taken in BBC.”

A block party, hosted by SPC, will he held after the BBC event in Parking Lot 2.

“It’s a way to continue that legacy and continue to grow the program and traditions here at FIU so that we have more pride and we have students that feel more proud of being apart of this university,” Newborn said.


Picture by Jessica Genader

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