Hundreds of students packed UU Hour Thursday for free food and prizes in celebration of National Student-Athlete Day. Attendees enjoyed food and prizes while they jammed to the live band that accompanied the special release of Honda’s newest car, the “Fit.”
The National Student-Athlete Day was created to acknowledge the hard work of student athletes who are able exceed both on the playing fields, in school and in the community.
Though the nationally sanctioned NCAA day of student-athlete recognition has been around since 1994, Thursday marked the first year Cal Poly has observed the April 6 event.
“We received a packet regarding the NCAA event and decided it would be good to recognize student athletes,” said Jennifer Folz, academic services assistant.
The inaugural event’s promoters, The Mustang Maniacs, the Cal Poly Athletic Department and the student athletic advisory committee were pleased with the event’s success and said they achieved their goal of informing more students about the athletic department.
“We were really excited about the turnout. We thought it was a great PR event for the Cal Poly Athletic Department,” said senior Michelle Henke, president of the student athletic advisory committee.
In addition to raising awareness on campus about the athletic department and acknowledging the accomplishments of the student-athletes, the day was held for student-athletes to gather together and relax with one another.
“Everybody seemed really excited about the event, there was a lot of camaraderie between all the athletes and they seemed to enjoy it,” Henke said.
Despite it being the first year for the event, the student attendance proved to be high as the lines for the free meals stretched across the UU.
“I really didn’t know what to expect as far as attendance, but nearly 200 athletes stopped by to enjoy the food,” Folz said. “We served over 400 meals which meant probably over 450 people stopped by the tent.”
Originally, the event was slated to charge students for the meals, but a last-minute decision by The Mustang Maniacs had them step forward and front the bill for the food and donate manpower for the day’s events, Henke said.
With nearly 500 people making it out to the event, some attendees said they had never seen the UU so busy.
“I can’t believe how many people are out here today, it’s pretty cool. I came for the free food, can’t blame me in that,” landscape architecture sophomore Tom Savage said. “But really, student-athletes have it a lot harder than the rest of us.”