First-Year Follies puts some color in students’ week

Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist Freshman participate in Freshman Follies on Fountain Mall.

By Holly Luttrell | Reporter

On Thursday afternoon, the annual First-Year Follies event helped new Baylor students cut loose with a paint war on Fountain Mall.

Every year, First-Year Follies is planned and executed by Student Foundation at the beginning of the fall semester. The event is designed to bring new students together for a fun afternoon. After classes let out on Thursday, a gathering of first year students appeared on Fountain Mall wearing white in preparation for a paint war.

Members of Student Foundation surrounded the crowd of students, creating a square arena for the event. Buckets were filled and placed on the perimeter and in the center of the area, giving students an ample supply of paint. Participants were barricaded in a confined space as the activity began and paint went flying. The students’ white shirts became a mosaic of colors as they used small paper cups to throw the paint at one another.

“Everybody just charged the paint buckets and chucked it at each other. It was a lot of fun,” freshman Katie Lyons said.

First-year students had the opportunity to participate in the paint war, followed by a water balloon fight minutes later. The event was controlled by Student Foundation members on a small stage at the edge of Fountain Mall. Lively emcees worked to keep students engaged and to provide them with upbeat music.

Some students originally expressed skepticism about the event, but it went off without a hitch.

“I was expecting it to be a tiny bit lame, but it was actually super fun and I’m covered in paint,” freshman Maddie LaLonde said.

After the first few weeks of college, First Year Follies gives students a change to let loose for a short while in the middle of their week. Student Foundation co-president Amelia Baumgardner spoke about the organization’s intentions to reach out to first year students at this event.

“We strive to serve all the students in the Baylor community. We know that really a great way for us to connect with our Baylor community is by focusing on freshmen and showing them fun things they can do on campus,” she said.

Student Foundation has been hosting this event for 39 years, with some changes made along the way. It was originally called Freshman Follies, but was renamed to First Year Follies last year to include transfer students who may wish to participate. The activities offered at the event have also evolved since its creation.

“In the recent years, we’ve really kind of focused on paint wars, but it used to be a food fight and a lot of different other things. It’s just a fun way for everyone to kind of come and relax after the first month of school,” Baumgardner said.

No matter the nature of the event, the goal First Year Follies is to engage first year students and give them an exciting afternoon. Paint and water balloons went flying on Thursday afternoon at Fountain Mall as first year students embraced this goal enthusiastically.