Soaking up the fun at First Friday

The Department of Student Life sponsored and hosted its second annual First Friday Festival on Friday on Aug. 23 from 7-11 p.m. at the Sparrow Stadium, where this year FMU’s 50th anniversary was celebrated.

The event had a great turnout despite the rainy weather, as students piled through the gates with their umbrellas and rain jackets.

Students, alumni and all of the different school organizations, came together to give the students a chance to learn about new clubs and various ways to get involved on campus.

The main attraction was the different vendors that came out. Vendors like Smoqueology, Benitos Rolling Oven, EZ Cheezy, Del’s Lemonade, and Pineapple Island set up food trucks, tables and tents for all of the participants. There was also adult-sized inflatables and tailgating.

Food Lion grocery store came out as well to give away grocery bags full of supplies and goodies for college students.

Many of the school’s organizations came out and were able to recruit members and bring awareness to the mission of their organization, such as National Panhellenic Counsil, Student Government Association and the Patriot Bookstore.

Malachi Dawson, vice president of FMU’s NAACP chapter, stood under the organization’s tent recruiting potential members and informing students about the upcoming events being planned and how they are making a difference in the community.

“We are located in various schools throughout the United States and we aim to show people, no matter their race, that they can make a difference anywhere,” Dawson said.

The event also included local programs and businesses from Florence and the surrounding area.

A youth leader from St. Luke Lutheran Church, Nancy Ball, informed students about the new youth service they will be starting “Coffee, Conversation, and Christ.”

“Sunday mornings we can get together, fellowship and talk about the things going on in their life,” Ball said.

Organizations like the student alumni association set up at the event hoping to find students interested in getting connected with alumni to create future opportunities for graduating students.

Even though a band was unable to play, FMU’s Greek life brought the event to life with their own music and dancing.

When the rain stopped the fraternities and sororities played music and strolled, which are signature fraternity and sorority dances, giving the audience a taste of Greek life.

Director of recreation and evening programs Derrick Young sat at the Intramurals sports table to show the different sports activities available to all students.

“These activities allow students to get more out of their college experience than just going to class and back to their dorms,” Young said. “I like to call it a stress reliever.”

Young said there will be 20 Intramural events this fall and 15 in the spring.

Devin Gregg, president of the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), came with another GSA member to inform students and alumni about their organization.

GSA tries to provide a safe space for students who have trouble finding their niche.

“We hope for students to find their chosen family or a friend group they can truly connect with and we like to do that through campus events,” Gregg said.

Even through the rain, the FMU family was still able to pull through to have a great time together as well as become more aware of everything FMU has to offer.