Spring Daze offers respite to stressed students

During the past six years, students have had the opportunity to participate in a week of activities and events known as Spring Daze.
Although there have been changes in the name and schedule of events that originally took place, Swamp Bowl has joined Fais Do Do and Strawberry Jubilee as a part of Southeastern traditions.
Spring Daze originated as an effort to provide students with a break due to an earlier spring break and a two-month period before summer.
“There was almost a two and a half month gap that we had no breaks,” said Jonathan Ambrose, director of the Student Union. “Our vice president charged us with creating some events that would possibly allow them to receive a break halfway in between them by doing some type of activities, so we had a Spring Daze. That’s what we called it. We had an entire week where we were going to do something every day during that week.”
Ambrose proposed a mud volleyball tournament, inspired by a similar program called ‘ooze ball’ that he participated in during his graduate school career at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
“It really is a simple event,” added Ambrose. “We’re providing an atmosphere for students to play volleyball in an environment where they are actually playing in mud through competition. They love it.”
Six years later he notes the choice of colors for the tournament T-shirt as the biggest challenge in planning the event.
“It’s a well-oiled machine,” said Ambrose. “The biggest hurdle I have is trying to come up with a color scheme. Every year I usually do three different color schemes, three different color shirts with corresponding colors on the shirt. I basically will take it around by word of mouth and say ‘OK pick one out of the three.’ That’s usually the hardest peak for me – determining what color shirts we’re doing and what colors are going on the shirt.”
Campus Activities Board (CAB) has hosted Strawberry Jubilee more than 30 years, serving students red beans and rice and strawberry flavored desserts. The event will feature a cake cutting ceremony by President John L. Crain and Miss Southeastern, Reneé Picou. This year CAB will bring back the traditional strawberry eating contest, recent addition of a photo booth and for the first time a chocolate fountain and zipline running across the Student Union Park.
“It should be fun,” said Todd McElroy, CAB coordinator. “We got the chocolate fountain that people can add a little to their desserts with. We brought back the photo booth because that was real popular. It’s going to be really hard to top the zipline for next year. I’ll test it out and make sure it’s all good before any students get on it.”
The Office of Student Engagement plays an active role in the student participation at Strawberry Jubilee and the other events set to take place during the week.
“Of course we’ll be out there helping and volunteering for the event, but we really just try to promote it to the students so that they know what’s going on,” said Cherie Kay Thriffiley, director of the Office of Student Engagement.
During the planning of the first Spring Daze, events were strategically scheduled around Fais Do Do and Strawberry Jubilee.
“We took those two events, and we knew we wanted it to happen on a Tuesday and a Wednesday. We built everything else that happened during Spring Daze around those two events,” said Ambrose. “Those two are staples. We knew students were going to participate in those.”
Career Services will kick off the week of events welcoming more than 40 employers for the Summer Jobs and Internships Fair in the Student Union on Tuesday, April 16 from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Fais Do Do, the annual crawfish boil hosted by Auxiliary Services, will follow outside of the Cayman Café, beginning at 4 p.m. Strawberry Jubilee will start at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, and Swamp Bowl will commence at noon on Friday, April 19.  Recreational Sports and Wellness will be hosting their first annual Rec Fest on Saturday, April 20 from 5 until 10 p.m. to wrap up the week as students begin to prepare for final exams. For more information on the events scheduled this week, search the departmental Web pages on the university website.