SAA hosts homecoming dance

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Photo by: Drew Kellis

Francis Marion University students participate in a group dance for homecoming festivities.

Nisheeka Simmons, Staff Writer

Over 150 Francis Marion University (FMU) studentsdanced to welcome the first night of Homecoming 2013.  Hosted by the Student Alumni Association (SAA), the dance was held in the University Center on Monday, Feb. 11.

The dance was the first of many events held that led up to the Homecoming 2013 weekend. There was no charge for admission but students needed their school identification card so they could be eligible for the door prizes.Julian Young, Director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving, said that while this is the SAA’s third year hosting the Monday night kick-off event, this is only the second time they have hosted the Homecoming dance, where students were provided snacks, door prizes, and a dance-off competition.

“The idea was introduced last year and it went so well that we decided to do it again,” Young said.

Young explained this is the first year that the SAA did not team up with another organization to host this event.

“Usually we collaborate with other departments to produce events, but this time we pulled the dance together on our own,” Young said.

Bredae Baker, a senior who is majoring in education-math and social studies, has beeninvolved withthe SAA for three years and has served as the Chairperson of Social Events for the organization for two years.  Baker believes the dance was beneficial to the association and also the student body.

“It gives us (the SAA) a chance to put ourselves out there,” Baker said.  “It is also a stress reliever for the students. It gives them a chance to get away from studying.”

Quanisha Nesmith, a junior who is majoring in nursing and is president of the SAA, has been involved in the organization for a few years. Nesmith said that when compared to last year, this year’s dance had a very successful turnout.

“I like to see the students come to the kick-off and just have fun,” Nesmith said.

Young pointed out that some of the services used to create the dance were from alum-based sources. A nightclub–esque environment was created by Grimsly Lighting and Sound, which is owned by the son of an alumnus of FMU.  Also, music was provided by Matthew Fischer, a graduate of FMU who is now a deejay at the music station 103-X.

According to Young, the SAA is an organization that caters to approximately 100 students at FMU.  The members have the opportunity to hear the stories and testimonies of individual alumni and the Alumni Board Association.The association is set up as a mentoring program that encourages life skills, such as dressing for success, interview etiquette and writing resumes.

“The SAA motto is‘Think like a graduate,’” Young said. “When our members reach graduation, we want them to be prepared for that next stage of life.”

Young also said that the program creates great opportunities for networking.

“We have had several members find positions at internships after speaking with one of the alums,” Young said.

The organization is not limited to services for students of FMU, however.  Young explained that the SAA is also active in the community and that to remain in good standing with the organization, members must complete 16 hours of community service per academic year.Young went on to say that the SAA recently adopted a highway that the group cleans three times a year.

The SAA is always looking for new members and anyone interested in joining should contact Julian Young at (843) 661-1295 or visit www.fmarion.edu/alumni.