Nothing says summer like the smell of hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill or lively music and laughter under the sun. On Jul. 23, Saint Leo was in full swing during the annual Summer Fest.
The event, hosted by Brandee Bolden and Undergraduate Admissions, invited incoming freshmen and their families from to tour the campus, enjoy a free concert and dinner, and make some new friends before the start of the fall semester.
“We enjoy giving our incoming students and families a great experience on campus,” said Bolden. “The event is a ‘congratulations for graduating and choosing an amazing university’ event.”
The bowl was encircled by an array of food trucks that doled out an assortment of mouthwatering cuisines, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, smoothies, and Italian ices. Contributing vendors included Mr. C’s Grilled Cheese, Smoothin’ and Shakin’, The Fishin’ Chicken, and many more. In addition to all the deep fried favorites, guests with special meal vouchers were able to sit down to a nice meal prepared by Saint Leo staff outside of the Caf.
Students chit-chatted, played corn hole, and chowed down to the musical stylings of opening act, BelO, and headline artist, Michael Brun. Both the groovy reggae band and the Spotify famous DJ hail from Haiti and their soulful jams set the perfect mood; every song sounded like the season of summer itself.
As the evening wore on and the sky grew darker, it was time to break out the glow sticks! Students and faculty alike donned the multicolored, luminescent little tubes like jewelry and continued to party on into the night.
Some incoming students traveled from across the state, others from across the nation. David Freckleton, an incoming Criminal Justice major, journeyed all the way from New Jersey to attend Saint Leo.
“A good friend of my mother’s attended Saint Leo and kind of sold me on it,” said Freckleton, when asked why he was willing to move so far from home. “Besides, I was getting pretty tired of Jersey. I’m ready to see something new.”
David knew right off the bat that Saint Leo was the school for him, but some students had to take their time and do a little investigating before they could make a final decision.
“What really attracted me to the campus was the baseball team,” said Eduardo Rodriguez from Texas. “I did tons of research, contacted the coaches, and set up some private visits in order to learn more. And, well, here I am!”
Daniela Huerta, a General Biology major, and Kailee McLain, a Forensic Science major, are very excited to be roommates, but are even more thrilled just to finally be college students.
“I’m both excited and nervous,” said Huerta. “This is a whole new chapter in our lives.”
“I finally get my independence,” McLain Stated. “A chance to spread my wings and fly.”
Students and their families were highly impressed with the beauty of the campus and with the warm and friendly welcome from its staff and returning students.
“I can already tell that we are going to love it here,” said Daniella Huerta.
Priscilla Rodriguez, who attended with her son, Eduardo, is having mixed emotions about seeing her son leave the nest, but feels confident that he will be in good hands.
“When I first set foot on the campus, I immediately realized why he chose this school,” Priscilla said.
“I like the feel of the campus,” Eduardo added. “Everyone is so friendly. It reminds me of home.”
“Summer Fest was a success and a great event,” concluded Brandee Bolden. “We had multiple students post using social media about how much fun they had.”
No student went home empty handed that evening. Some guests left with a door prize, others left arm in arm with a new friend, and some departed with a new found feeling of confidence and readiness. Many of the incoming freshmen are leaving one home behind, but are happy to know that, thanks to a few friendly faces, they have just been welcomed into a new one.