Dedication of new facilities, Family Day, 'Roomie's Return' highlight first home football game Saturday
Contact: Rene Abadie
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NEW UNIFORMS -- As fellow band member and saxophonist Jonathan Maninno of Slidell looks on, Robert Haas of Slidell, a criminal justice major and percussionist in Southeastern Louisiana University’s Spirit of the Southland marching band, adjusts the hat of his new band uniform. The public will get their first chance to see the 103-member band in action in its new attire at the university’s first home football game Saturday, Sept. 13.
HAMMOND – Saturday is Southeastern Louisiana University’s first home football game – and much more.
Before the Lions kick off against South Dakota at 6 p.m., Southeastern will dedicate its new intermodal parking facility and an addition to Strawberry Stadium that includes luxury suites, club seating and media facilities.
Saturday is filled with activities that also include the university’s Family Day and tailgating in Friendship Circle. The game itself will be marked with the unveiling of new uniforms for the Spirit of the Southland marching band and “Roomie’s Return” in which Southeastern’s Lion mascot will be revealed after a total makeover.
At 3:45 p.m., suite and Victory Club ticket-holders have been invited to dedicate Southeastern’s new press box, hospitality suites and Victory Club area on Strawberry Stadium’s west side. The two-deck $4.5 million facility includes four suites leased by private donors, a 116-seat club area for members of the Lion Athletic Association, facilities for home and away team coaches, and a new media facility.
Built in 1937, the 7,500-seat Strawberry Stadium has seen only modest improvements over the years.
“Although it is structurally sound, the stadium facilities were simply not on a par with those of the Southland Conference,” said Interim President John L. Crain. “The enhancements were long overdue and represent a real modernization of this historic stadium.”
At 4:45 p.m. the university administration will be joined by current and past leaders of the Student Government Association to dedicate the four-level parking facility adjacent to the stadium. Funded by a student assessment and a federal appropriation, the 450-vehicle intermodal transportation facility includes a drop-off point for bus and shuttle operations. Green and gold sherbet will be shared with those who stop by the entrance of the facility after the brief dedication ceremony.
Tailgaters in Friendship Circle will enjoy a live band performing in the Pottle Performance Circle and the traditional “Lion Walk” of the football team around the circle two hours prior to kickoff. Tailgating will also include activities for children, including face painting, a “Roomie Coloring Contest” at the Alumni Association’s tent and inflatable interactive games and waterslides. An area will be provided for changing into dry clothing.
Pre-game festivities will begin in Strawberry Stadium at 5:40 p.m., highlighted by the cutting of an end zone-to-end zone ribbon with the help of the Lionettes and cheerleaders. The 103-member Spirit of the Southland marching band, directed by Paul Frechou and led by drum majors Blake Bogan and Jessica Phillips, will sport new green “drum corps-style” uniforms trimmed with gold and white striping and bright gold plumes. Frechou said the uniforms are a hit with the student musicians, who like the fit, comfort and color. “They are going to show up great on the field,” he added.
Halftime festivities will feature “Roomie’s Return – the Beast is Back,” the grand reveal of a new look for Southeastern’s Lion mascot. To build up to this first sight of the mascot’s new costume, funded by the Student Government Association and Alumni Association, Southeastern sent the “old” Roomie off on a mock makeover. His “return” in his new reincarnation will be marked by fireworks, announcement of the winners of the Roomie coloring contest, and recognition of the family of the late Hollis “Roomie” Wilson, the Southeastern biology professor, alumnus and renowned athletic official for whom the mascot is named.
Families of Southeastern students are also being invited to participate in Family Day on Saturday, a long-standing university tradition that gives students’ parents and siblings the opportunity to tour campus and participate in pre-game campus spirit. For more information and to register, families can visit the “Family Day” button on Southeastern’s Web site, www.selu.edu.