By Ada Zhang
The first experiences a student has at Baylor are some of the most memorable. The Traditions Rally and Late Night are annual events that start the semester off strong, but unlike previous years, a sentimental factor accompanies this year’s events.
On Thursday, the rally will be held at Floyd Casey Stadium for the last time. Come fall 2014, the Traditions Rally will take place at the new football stadium.
Baylor Student Activities plans the Traditions Rally and Late Night to introduce new students to Baylor’s unique culture.
These events provide students with the opportunity to make friends, learn traditions and become a part of the green-and-gold family.
Matt Burchett, director of student activities, explained the Traditions Rally as a new student’s first introduction to the Baylor community and football season. The rally is always held on the Thursday before the first home game.
“What makes this one special is that we are not only beginning what is going to be a great football season,” Burchett said. “We are also honoring Floyd Casey’s 63 years of being a part of Baylor.”
The Traditions Rally will kick off at 6 p.m. Thursday with a student tailgate, where each of the Interfraternity Council fraternities will have their own tailgating booth set up.
Students must show their Baylor ID to be allowed into the tailgate. Free hotdogs and hamburgers will be available to all attendees. Country musician Kyle Park will be supplying the entertainment for the evening.
After the student tailgate, the rally, which is free, will begin. Although the tailgate is limited to Baylor students, the rally welcomes the entire Waco community. The football coaches and players will first lead a 30-minute pep rally.
“It’ll be your typical ‘rah rah’ pep rally,” Burchett said.
Singer and songwriter Ben Rector, who had a sold out show at Common Grounds last semester, will then play a 45-minute set on the field.
There will be a fireworks show to conclude the rally.
“It’s an amazing fireworks show,” Burchett said. “We put a lot into it.”
Following the rally, the festivities continue Friday with Late Night, which is also free of charge.
Craig Willie, associate director of student activities for student organizations, said students will leave Late Night impressed with the variety of involvement opportunities at Baylor.
Late Night gives new students the chance to meet student leaders from many different clubs on campus. Close to 200 clubs will be represented at Late Night this year, Burchett said.
For the second year in a row, Late Night will be held in not one, but many locations. In the past, Late Night was held exclusively at the McLane Student Life Center.
Burchett said many locations are necessary because of the growing popularity of the event paired with the growing number of student organizations.
One location no longer has the capacity to sponsor the entire event.
Various locations also serve to help students navigate.
“We’ve categorized different organizations into different facilities,” said Burchett. “It’s easier for students to find what interests them.”
This year, Late Night will be located in the SLC, Russell Gymnasium, the Bobo Spiritual Life Center and the Bill Daniel Student Center.
Student artists from Uproar Records, Baylor’s own record company, will be sharing their music at the SLC. Also there will be will be free pizza and soda at the SLC.
Student organization performances will take place in the SUB den.
“Late Night can help students discover their passions,” said Willie. “It’s really about having fun and making friends.”