UNH’s Department of Theatre and Dance, the gymnastics team, marching band and even the fencing club took stage in the center of campus as the university kicked off another academic year with the annual University Day Picnic and Student Activities Fair (U-Day) from 3:30-6:30 p.m. on Sept. 13.
The rain date previously set proved to be unnecessary, as warm weather and bright blue skies accompanied the smell of hamburgers cooking on the grill and music blaring from the DJ booth on Main Street.
Thousands of students and community members filled Thompson Hall Lawn and Main Street, along with over 240 tables representing UNH programs, student organizations and local businesses for the free event.
The UNH Marching Band played selections from their pregame show, including UNH school songs “Onto Victory,” “Cheer” and “In the Stone” by Earth Wind and Fire, along with “1812” by Tchaikovsky. They played other songs from their halftime show as well.
Third-year student and Marching Band flautist Alicia Ouellette was one of the performers at U-Day. “The band loves to get out there and play for the community,” she said. “It’s always great to be able to play at campus events.”
“U-day absolutely represents UNH as a whole. UNH has such a diverse community, with diverse interests, and that is quite visible by looking from table to table,” Ouellette said.
The tables per usual ranged from food stands, with items such as popcorn and cotton candy, to fraternity and sorority life with justabout everything in between. Student organizations offered pamphlets and sign-ups for students, while UNH departments and businesses from the community promoted their own services to the students.
Middle school students from Oyster River Middle School sat on the lawn too, partaking in the community event. Face painting, balloons and a photo booth were all part of the festivities offered to the community.
“It’s great to see the people who make up the community,” Ouellette said.
All three UNH dining halls were closed for dinner in order for staff to help out during the dining barbecue and their dedication paid off. The lines formed effortlessly. Students and community members reached for drinks and blue and white cupcakes, as staff reloaded the table.
Main Street closed earlier in the day for the setup of U-day, which started at 10 a.m. The street was closed from Edgewood Road to Garrison Avenue until 8 p.m.
The interactive map, similar to last year’s, was brought back to make it easier for students to find exactly the table they were searching to see. The hashtag #MYUDAY was live and gave those who used it an opportunity to win prizes.