Elise Gregg | Editor-in-Chief
The line wrapped around half the Ricardo Silva Stadium and the music could be heard booming across the quad.
Filled with several hundred students, club booths across the football field and blue and gold everywhere, FIU’s inaugural First Night was packed. A new tradition at the university, it expands past years’ Greek Life BBQ to include additional student organizations.
“It’s a new Panther experience and a great opportunity for students to come out and meet all their student organizations,” said Student Government president Cristhofer Lugo to PantherNOW. “The Greek BBQ was by itself…so I’m super excited to see what this new tradition could be.”
Students got the chance to enjoy the Greek Life BBQ as well as talk to other clubs and hear from Interim President Ken Jessell, Athletic Director Scott Carr and Head Football Coach Mike MacIntyre.
“When you look at universities that are hundreds of years of age – and here we are at 50 – and look at all we’ve accomplished,” said Jessell addressing the crowd. “I can’t even imagine what you are going to be experiencing over the next 50 years, and you Panthers tonight will be part of writing the chapter.”
The focus was undoubtedly on encouraging students to support FIU football this fall in the beginning of a new era for the program.
“Really loved seeing the amount of fans and students here,” Tight End Rivaldo Fairweather said. “Hopefully we got more of them here at the football games. We need everyone’s support.”
Even beyond football and campus involvement, the night was a preview of what could be a return to pre-pandemic life.
“Everybody’s always busy with class, so it’s cool to see people enjoying themselves here,” said Laura Castro, a sophomore majoring in computer science. “Our senior year in high school was during COVID, so it was all online. But our college experience isn’t online, and it’s really nice!”
Additional reporting by Arianna Otero and Jonathan Mayer.