UGA’s latest crop of first-year students began their collegiate careers Aug. 18. But the evening before classes started, thousands of students from the Class of 2018 met at Sanford Stadium to take a giant group photo between the hedges.
The first-year students—most clad in UGA red and black—took the field at the annual Freshman Welcome to form a 70-by-50-yard version of the university’s “power G” logo on the football field.
This is the fourth year the university has invited first-year students to gather on the field as part of the Freshman Welcome event, which was organized by the Student Government Association and the Office of Alumni Relations. SGA President Drew Jacoby emceed the event.
Freshman Welcome is an opportunity for students to get ready for the upcoming football season, but it also gives administrators and upperclassmen a forum to offer some sound advice to the new students.
During the event, students were introduced to UGA football traditions and chants led by Brook Whitmire, Sanford Stadium’s public address announcer, and the Redcoat Marching Band.
UGA President Jere W. Morehead congratulated first-year students as the class with the best academic credentials in the university’s history.
“The next four years are going to be a great four years for all of you,” he said. “Please take advantage of all the university has to offer you.”
UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity and head football coach Mark Richt told students that their cheering at UGA athletic events was essential to the Bulldogs team success.
Mark Rush, Student Alumni Council president, encouraged students also to take part in UGA’s nonathletic traditions as well and to find other ways to get involved in university life.
Rush said he was a first-year student the first year the Freshman Welcome allowed students onto the field for the photo. He said it was a great way to start his UGA career.
His advice to students: “Never let any opportunity go by because you never know where it will take you.”
After the event, students gathered at Reed Plaza for food and music.
The university also hosted a Transfer Student Welcome event Aug. 17 at the Tate Student Center.