First Friday kicks off new academic year, fun for students


Photo by: Rosaline Abuaita

Students and alumni learn more about student organizations on campus, enjoy live music and reconnect with friends at the Griffin Athletic Complex during the First Friday event on Aug. 24.

Francis Marion University (FMU) held its inaugural First Friday event Friday night from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. on Aug. 24 at the Griffin Athletic Complex. It was designed to celebrate the first Friday back in school for returning students and to serve as a welcome to both first year and transfer students joining the Patriot family this fall.    

First Friday, which was sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, featured student organization tents where students could receive information about the various clubs, societies and honor associations. The various organizations included the Student Media Association, National Panhellenic Council, Gay-Straight Alliance and Student Government Association.

The event also included tailgating, adult water slides, inflatables, henna tattoos, a photo booth, yard games, a dance floor and live music. The live music was provided by The Spazmatics, DJ Watts, Fleeting Glimpses of Sobriety, DJ Fisher, Senior Year, DJ Voodoo Child and Speakeasy.

First Friday also had a host of vendors, including Georges Funnel Cakes, Kohler Ice Cream Treats, Kona Ice, Cowboys Ribs & Chicken, Sweet Leigh’s Cake Jars and Cookies, Liberty Station Italian Sandwiches, Bean Bar Coffee and Pineapple Island Drinks.

Christopher Kennedy, associate provost for academic affairs, said the idea for the event came from a conversation he had with Fred Carter, president of FMU, to bring the FMU community together.

“It was kind of a crazy idea I had with Dr. Carter,” said Kennedy. “He said, ‘you know what, that’s a good idea, why don’t you run with it.’ It was seen as a way to have more activities for students and to bring together the campus community. We want to celebrate the whole campus community coming together.”

According to Kennedy, the university plans on making First Friday a tradition because of the positive response the event received.

“I think the administration, especially Dr. Carter, was very happy with the outcome and it’s one of those things where we’re going to keep trying new things and see if they work, and if they don’t work, regroup and think about it and then try something else,” Kennedy said. “We’re trying to make traditions here and First Friday I think will be a great tradition for us.”

Kennedy also said they wanted to make the event student friendly by bringing in henna tattoo vendors and a photo booth.

Reggie Hayward, an FMU Alumnus, said the event was an incredible way to kick off the school year and it encourages students to get involved here on campus.

“I think First Friday is a good idea and a good way to get people involved especially because the first week is a hard adjustment period,” freshman Kaitlin McCoy said. “I think it’s a good idea to have vendors out because now if I’m going out in Florence, I know what I’m looking for.”

According to Kennedy, First Friday had over 1,100 attendees, which included current students, alumni, faculty, staff and guests.

The Office of Student Affairs has already met to brainstorm new ideas for the next First Friday, such as shortening the time of the event and adding new vendors and activities for the students.