The Lion's Roar

Flash mob ignites university spirit in Student Union

Katelyn Robillard

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Students danced their way into the new semester in the War Memorial Student Union Mall last Wednesday with a flash mob organized by the Hall Council. Spectators made up of students, faculty and staff watched as a group of their peers gathered to participate in a memorable moment for all in attendance.

“The Hall Council members came together and thought of the flash mob idea,” said business administration junior Ryan Pattison. “At first, we wanted it to be part of the resident halls to get the residents out to do it, and then it kind of became a campus-wide thing.”

According to Pattison, the Hall Council is a residential-based organization designed to build community within the residence halls. The council decided to use a flash mob as an opportunity for students to show off their Lion pride on the first day of school.

“Throughout the past year, Hall Council has been so successful that we wanted to expand that community, building throughout the entire campus, and thus the flash mob was presented,” said Pattison.

Planning a choreographed dance that could potentially involve hundreds of students and the university’s own Roomie the Lion and President John L. Crain proved to be a two-month endeavor, according to Pattison. The Hall Council started this process by spreading the word with a page on Facebook titled “Southeastern Flashmob.”

“As soon as we made a Facebook, it completely went viral,” said Pattison. “Today, we have about 1,400 friends on Facebook; all of them are Southeastern students. We also made flyers to go on every single resident’s bed to let them know about our Facebook [page] and how they could get involved with it.”

On the Facebook page, coordinators asked participants to wear green and yellow attire and to meet in the Student Union Park before 12:30 p.m. to wait for their cue.

A two-part dance tutorial, choreographed by Pattison and senior social work major Heather Breecher, was also posted during the summer to teach everyone the moves. Last-minute practices were held around campus for those who needed extra help with the routine. The dance was performed to a mix of current dance songs from the top 25 dance charts.

With a friend list approaching 1,400 people, coordinators had no way of knowing exactly how many people would show up to participate.

“We asked people to click ‘attend’ only if they were actually participating in the dance, and we had about 230 people click it,” said Pattison. “But we have absolutely no idea how the turnout was going to be.”

Students in attendance found the flash mob a unique way to introduce newcomers to Southeastern.

“I thought it was interesting,” said nursing junior Keith Rosenbach. “It was cool. It was definitely cool for it to happen the first day of school, especially in August when we have a lot of incoming freshmen to get school spirit. It was cool for that.”

Faculty, staff and students crowded the Student Union Mall in anticipation of the performance. At 12:30 p.m., music from the second floor cued senior art education major Justin Roberson to the center of the Union, which quickly turned into a small group. After a short routine, the music died down and then suddenly built back up, at which point all participants waiting in the park rushed in to join the flash mob. Towards the end of the dance, participants divided themselves to allow Roomie and Crain to walk through the Union while the Spirit of the Southland Marching Band played the Southeastern fight song.

“We believe the flash mob was a huge success,” said Pattison. “The amount of energy from the students on the first day of school was overwhelming. It was a day we can all be proud to be a Southeastern Lion.”


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