Students have fun before the first day of classes

After Freshman Success Day, students attended Strawberry Jam in the Pennington Center. They played games, got prizes and watched performances by the Lionettes, cheerleaders and Spirit of the Southland marching band and color guard. Sarah Hess/The Lion's Roar

Strawberry Jam is coordinated by the athletic department where students can mingle and relax before school starts. On Aug. 15, Strawberry Jam was held at the Pennington Student Activity Center. The event was supposed to be split into two locations, taking place outside the University Center and inside the Pennington. Due to rain, all the activities were held inside. Strawberry Jam offered students performances from the Lionettes, cheerleaders and Spirit of the Southland marching band and color guard. Free prizes, such as lions merchandise and the game day shirts, were given out. Inflatable sports game stations were set up for students to enjoy along with a photo booth, DJ and prize wheel to promote the Lion Up Loyalty app where students could win their first university gear of the semester. Sophomore art major Aubree Weldon enjoyed her time at Strawberry Jam visiting all the stations and winning prizes.

“It’s cool,” said Weldon. “It’s really fun. Everyone is having a good time dancing and playing games.”

Coordinator of Student Marketing and Promotions Lindsey Cramer explains what she believes is the importance of Strawberry Jam.

“Strawberry Jam is important because it’s the day before school starts, and it’s a way for everyone to come together,” said Cramer. “What I want to do when I’m building this event is give our students something to do. When they’re doing something, they’re usually interacting. I want people to make friends, and I want a lot of our freshmen to come and show up 'cause this is their first athletic experience with Southeastern athletics.”

Cramer also expresses why it is important that student athletes use events such as Strawberry Jam to make connections with the student body.

“I’ve talked to a couple of freshmen over the years after the event, and they never really expected to have a one-on-one connection with the athletes,” said Cramer. “Relationships should be built between the athletes and our student body as well because that’s going to ensure that a relationship throughout time will exist.”

Strawberry Jam’s coordinators prepared for 2,000 participants. Due to Freshman Success Day leading into Strawberry Jam, the event hosts expectd a large turnout. Those who helped make Strawberry Jam a success were workers from athletics, marketing and promotions and Division for Student Affairs leadership ambassadors who helped serve meals from Olive Garden and man the photo booth. Despite bad weather, many attended Strawberry Jam to kick off the semester with a fun time.

Participants mingled, got to know university athletes and played sports-related activities among other activities at Strawberry Jam. Sarah Hess/The Lion's Roar