Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Stomp, fireworks to highlight close of UTRGV’s first day

By Jennifer L. Berghom

EDINBURG, TEXAS – SEPT. 1, 2015 – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley capped off its first day of classes Monday with its signature event, The Stomp.

The Stomp brought together UTRGV and the community at large to celebrate the beginning of the new university with music, food and other entertainment.

More than 2,000 people gathered at the Health and Physical Education (HPE) Track and Field on the Edinburg Campus, where they visited roughly 100 booths staffed by various student organizations, university departments and local businesses.

The Brownsville campus was forced to postpone its Stomp celebration for a later date due to severe weather.

Sisters Laura and Veronica Gonzalez stopped by The Stomp in Edinburg to see what was going on.

“I think it’s fun that we’re getting all this free swag,” Laura said.

An Edinburg resident and a senior majoring in English, Laura did not attend first-day events that The University of Texas-Pan American had hosted, but she wanted to check out The Stomp because of all the buzz about the new university.

“I thought it was cool that we’re going to be so major, so big. And I know that we’re already part of the UT System, but a major part of it now especially with the medical school,” she said. “Plus, my sister is a freshman, so I’m kind of like, we have to do everything!”

Veronica said she likes being a part of the #FirstClass and is enjoying her newfound freedom in college.

“I can just hang out by myself and it’s not weird,” she said.

Pedro Rangel, a member of UTRGV’s spirit team who is working on his master’s degree in social work, said he thought The Stomp was a good new tradition for a new university.

“I think it’s a great way to encourage and empower Vaquero pride, school pride, here on campus,” said Rangel, who earned his bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Brownsville.

Rangel was a student at UTB when that university changed its mascot from the Scorpion to the Ocelot, and already was a student at UTPA when the UTRGV transition began. He has been impressed by this recent transition.

“Our first year, I think, has been great,” he said. “You see Vaquero pride everywhere … the transition has been overwhelming, like a roller coaster, but I think that overall it’s been a great way to start the new institution.”

Throughout the evening, students collected free keepsakes and played games at the tables vendors had set up along the track. The Spazmatics, an ’80s cover band, entertained from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The night closed with a festive fireworks display.