College Night activities begin at UM

Published 10:23 am Thursday, February 1, 2024

By RACHEL RAIFORD | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – College Night activities have kicked off at the University of Montevallo and will culminate in the annual presentation of play productions by both Purple Side and Gold Side.

The University of Montevallo’s College Night of the oldest college homecoming traditions in the U.S. and serves as a unique tradition between students, faculty, staff and distant alumni.

Students voluntarily pick a side, purple or gold, and then engage in various activities against one another. College Night culminates into a final clash each year with a production put on display by each side. The winner each year is determined by which side has the highest total number of points.

The tradition features intramural sports games, a cheerleading competition and a four-day long musical theater competition. Each side competes to win in each category, with the points being totaled on the day of the final performance to determine the winner.

This year, the season kicked off with ribbon hanging on Sunday, Jan. 7. Students from both Gold and Purple sides met on the front steps of Palmer Hall to cheer for their sides before hanging gold and purple ribbons across campus.

On Saturday, Jan. 27, the women’s volleyball game took place prior to the sign raising event. Each side raises a sign in front of Farmer Hall to give a clue of what their show is about.

Each of the side’s leaders had the opportunity to give a short speech before revealing their side’s sign. It typically serves as a team effort to build the signs, with designers and leaders working together.

Purple Side revealed their sign first which includes a spinning ferris wheel. Side Leader Joshua Giles explained that it took multiple purple cabinet members to put the sign together.

Giles, Side Leader Abby Sledd, Head Sign Kelsi Wilson, Technical Director Romeo Garrisson and Secretary Madeline Drain-Dorsey all pitched in to make the sign happen.

“I’d say it took us about three weeks, and the hardest part of course was figuring out how we were going to get it to move,” Giles said. “Kelsi Wilson did all of the painting and designing, and we took her vision and made it happen.”

Giles continued to explain the different moving parts to the sign, including the dowel system used to get the ferris wheel to spin.

“It’s just a bunch of pieces of wood coming together with a little pipe, and yeah, it spins,” Giles said.

Following the Purple Side, Gold Side unveiled their sign. The sing’s large columns, clock tower and moon came together to make a nighttime city scene.

Side Leader Anna Brasfield said there was a lot of collaboration on their sign as well.

“Our artistic director and assistant artistic director designed the sign,” Brasfield said. “Me, Cole Broadhead and Tyler Means all built the sign together. We then passed it on to our artist to paint the sign.”

Brasfield, Side Leader Abi Dewilde, Artistic Director Kaylin Tate, Assistant Artistic Director Fox Conneen, Head Props and Assistant Cole Broadhead and side participant Tyler all played a part in making the sign come to life. Brasfield also noted that it took almost three weeks to complete the sign.

“It may have taken a long time to get it together, but it’s just so much fun to create together and I think that’s the basis of the season really, collaboration,” Brasfield said.

Each side had various cabinet members and supporters at the sign raising to cheer each other on. The sides will continue to show up at upcoming homecoming events leading up to the four nights of competing musical theater shows.

For information on all College Night events visit either side’s Instagram pages @purplevictory and @gold_victory_ for important information and dates.

The shows will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 14 and run through Saturday, Feb. 17, where the winner of the 2024 College Night season will be announced. Tickets must be purchased before the shows online at Montevallotickets.universitytickets.com/w/event.aspx?id=1503.