Party on the Plaza helps students join UT organizations

Rachel Thompson

Colorful posters, white tents and enthusiastic students covered the pavement outside Gregory Gym on Wednesday for UT’s 12th annual Party on the Plaza.

UT RecSports has hosted the event since 1999 as a way to kick off the new school year and encourage students to find out about organizations on campus. Proceeds from the event are put towards the UT Student Emergency Fund, a pool of money that helps students with financial troubles caused by catastrophic events. The fund can cover textbooks, medications or prescriptions, or rent and replacement of personal belongings.

Since its premiere event in 1999, Party on the Plaza has raised about $14,000 for the fund.

“We just want to provide a chance for students to have a good time, check out the over 200 student organizations, ride the bull and raise money,” said associate RecSports director Randall Ford.

RecSports estimated 19,000 to 20,000 people attended the event throughout the day, Randall said.

“You can hear it, see it from far away,” said aerospace engineering sophomore Trevor Montgomery of Longhorn Hellraisers, a spirit organization. “One stroll through here and you can find something. To know that we as an organization can recruit people here, it’s just really good.”

The schedule of events included a pizza lunch, a basketball scholarship shoot out, information about event sponsor Texas Student Media, a mini-putt golf challenge, photo booth, Cactus Yearbook lemonade, samples of Amy’s ice cream and a student organization fair.

“We’re trying to get our name out there, trying to get girls to rush,” said nutrition sophomore Julie Chen of Sigma Phi Omega while distributing flyers to students passing through. “Joining is one of the best decisions I’ve made here.”

Besides showcasing spirit groups, philanthropy opportunities and Greek organizations, Party on the Plaza also displayed the recreational sports students are encouraged to take part in while at UT.

“We’re promoting our outdoor adventure trips here,” said rhetoric and writing junior Jacob Johnson, who manages RecSports’ outdoor equipment, including the rock climbing wall in Gregory Gym. “This event’s just good in general for all the clubs, especially for the freshmen who live in Jester and don’t know about all of these things.”

Printed on September 1, 2011 as: Fund Fund Fund Fest