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Athletics: UL students show school spirit at campus block party

Megan Wyatt, Daily Advertiser, August 31, 2013

UL block party delivers

UL block party delivers: Have you ever seen a block party quite like this? The final event of Welcome Week, the block party brings UL students and faculty together in a sea of red. Geaux Cajuns! Video by Anastasia Semien and Megan Wyatt, The Advertiser.

Click here for video. 

Spirit for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette took over the town Friday as students, professionals and residents wore red to support the Ragin’ Cajuns.

No greater display of red could be found Friday than along St. Mary Boulevard on campus, where the university wrapped up Welcome Week with a block party.

The block party has been a staple of Welcome Week for the past 15 years, but this year, the party had to switch from the usual Rex Street location to St. Mary Boulevard to accommodate the growing number of students and fans.

“This is the fun ending to Welcome Week and a way to get the semester kicked off right,” said Garland “Chico” Rodriguez, assistant director of the UL Student Union.

The event, which is free for both vendors and students, is put on by the union in conjunction with the University Program Council.

And there’s nothing like free food, drinks, music and giveaways to attract a crowd of college students.

“It’s great because you get to see all your friends again, check out new businesses, and, I mean, it’s free food and drinks and stuff,” said Ross Gaudet, a junior majoring in pre-law.

Gaudet has attended the block party since his freshman year, he said.

For Zkiah Dixon, a senior majoring in general studies, the Friday event was only her second time attending the block party.

Once she learned of the freebies last year, she decided to come back.

“I like the radio stations being out here,” she said. “They gave me a shout out on the radio at 107.9.”

Every kind of business from restaurants and radio stations to banks and blood donation centers could be found along St. Mary Boulevard from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Tickets to Blue Bayou and a Drake concert were given away in addition to the free food and drinks and coupons.

Among the booths was Charles Allo, the manager of Cafe Chi Alpha.

Allo offered students bottles of water and coupons to the cafe, which is located inside of the Chi Alpha campus ministry. It is the third year Allo has attended the block party on behalf of Chi Alpha.

“It’s a great way to reach out to students who don’t know we have a full-service coffee cafe,” Allo said. “And the cafe’s a great way to connect the students to our campus ministry.”

The event also gave prime real estate to new businesses, such as Hungry Howie’s, which opened up on Congress Street only two weeks ago.

As the staff of Hungry Howie’s passed out slice after slice of pizza to students, they also had the opportunity to let them know that the business is open until 4 a.m. daily for infamous late-night college meals.

“The UL and Ragin’ Cajun community is very important to us,” said Sara Pollock, marketing director for Hungry Howie’s Louisiana. “Everybody is so friendly here.”