Thursday, September 3, 2015

Vaqueros enjoy a hotdog and a handshake at Brownsville Picnic with the President

Story by Cheryl Taylor

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – SEPT. 3, 2015 – Students began pouring into El Gran Salón as soon as the doors opened at 11:30 a.m. for the Best Week Ever’s Picnic with The President.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley launch celebration continued on Thursday, Sept. 3, in the Student Union, where a steady stream of visitors filed in for free food, souvenir Best Week Ever keychains, and UTRGV T-shirts and bandanas. The Edinburg Campus Picnic with The President was held on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey and members of his administrative staff donned white UTRGV aprons to serve chips, hotdogs and cool drinks to long lines of hungry students.

After two hours, Bailey had handed out about 900 hotdogs, greeting students and asking them questions about their studies.

“I’m having the time of my life,” Bailey said over the loud music. “This is one of the things I enjoy so much – being with students, learning where they’re from and what they are majoring in.”

Bailey credits his late wife Jan with having the idea for a picnic event back in 2007.

“It started in when we were at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, and we did it at Texas Tech University in Lubbock,” he said. “It is always very popular. And it gives me a chance to meet some of the students, so I’m delighted to be here.”

Ray Zuniga, a freshman biomedical sciences major, came to the Brownsville Campus, where biomedical studies classes and labs are located, as he has done over the past three days, on the shuttle from Edinburg, where he lives.

“Dr. Bailey seems very welcoming and friendly. This is a nice event for students,” said Zuniga, an ROTC student who hopes to continue on to a master’s degree in biomedical engineering before entering the military.

“Also, today’s event is another way for me to become familiar with this campus. I already know the Edinburg campus because I took classes there while in high school.”

Ann Jacobo, a junior government and communications major, has a busy semester ahead of her. She just began an internship in the office of Texas Rep. Eddie Lucio III, and next week starts a job with AmeriCorps, working at a Brownsville high school to encourage students to continue on to college and helping with their applications.

“Given we were faced with a transition and lots of changes, I think having something like this picnic is a great way for the administration to reach out to students and show their support,” Jacobo said. “I’ve met Dr. Bailey before, and I enjoyed shaking his hand again today. And once again, I found him to be friendly and approachable.”

At a table of Veterans Upward Bound students, Armando Leon said Dr. Bailey made a good first impression with him.

“This is a good way to start off the semester, with the students, showing that he’s approachable,” said Leon, who joined the Army when he finished high school at the age of 17. After six months at Fort Carson, Colorado, Leon was the youngest in his unit when he was deployed to Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division.

A senior in the UTeach program, Leon will graduate with his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and certification to teach math in grades 8-12.

A popular spot inside El Gran Salón was the photo table, where students lined up to have their pictures taken and, in a matter of seconds, their photos were processed and sealed into keychains with built-in flashlights.

Students wrote their hopes and dreams on the portable WE WILL walls, set up next to the table where Student Involvement staffers stayed busy throughout the two-hour picnic, handing out T-shirts and bandanas. The WE WILL T-shirts commemorate the first week of classes, dubbed Best Week Ever.

The picnic spilled outside, with more music, fun and games. Representatives from student organizations talked to students about activities and community service projects. Student Involvement engaged students in games to win $50 V-bucks cards, good for purchases at the dining hall and the bookstore.

UTRGV’s Best Week Ever continues through Friday, Sept. 4, with more student activities and events. For more information, call the UTRGV Student Involvement Office at 956-665-2660 (Edinburg) or 956-882-5111 (Brownsville).

Dr. Bailey said he was happy to kick start this tradition for the university during Best Week Ever festivities, calling...

Posted by The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, September 3, 2015

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