Pure as gold: Gold Side claims victory at UM’s 2024 College Night

Published 12:25 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

MONTEVALLO – Members of Purple and Gold Side waited with bated breath for the announcement of the winner of this year’s College Night at the University of Montevallo before excited screams and tears filled Palmer auditorium after Gold Side learned that this year is a “GV.”

UM hosted the final night of its long-running, annual homecoming tradition, College Night, on Saturday, Feb. 17.

“It was the best College Night experience I’ve  had,” said Colton Rodano, president of the UM student government association. “I enjoyed the productions this year more than I enjoyed them in years prior. It was really a life-changing experience to be honest. I never expected to be involved in such a beautiful campus community.”

College night is an annual homecoming tradition at the University of Montevallo unlike any other, that has been ongoing since 1919.

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. Over the course of the event’s history, Purple Side has won 51 times and Gold Side has claimed 48 victories.

Both sides gathered together on the stage in the Palmer Hall auditorium after performing both productions and waited in anticipation as Rodano revealed the results of this year’s College Night. After hearing the words, “pure as gold,” Gold Side erupted into cheers knowing that this year was a gold victory.

“I am overwhelmed with emotions,” said Abi Dewilde, who served as a Gold Side leader alongside Anna Brasfield. “It doesn’t just happen by two people. We have a group of amazing talented individuals that really have helped us so much with all of this, and we genuinely could not do it without them. This victory is all of ours.”

This year’s victory was extra sweet for members of Gold Side, having lost to Purple Side during the 2023 edition of College night.

“We fought for every point,” Dewilde said. “We fought to get our victory back, we fought as a family. We just want to love each other and support each other and I feel like that’s what Gold Side did this year—we uplifted each other in a way that only those who play in College Night will know.”

Gold Side’s production for 2024 was entitled, “To Live and Die” and was the second show of the night.

“One big thing of our show is ‘moments become memories’ and Gold Side is one of those things,” Dewilde said. “All the moments, all the memories that we made on this side during this season will change our life forever. I will never forget them.”

Despite this year being a “GV,” Purple Side Leader Josh Giles stood strong after the announcement and was complimentary of the efforts of both sides during this year’s homecoming.

“I think that it was a very good game,” said Giles, who served alongside Purple Side leaders Abby Sledd. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a really strong competition, and this year was representative of that. It was a very good competition, both sides did really well, they really stepped their game up. We had a solid show (and) Gold Side had a solid show.”

Purple Side performed the first show of the evening with a production entitled, “Pleasant Vanished.”

“I feel great because we gave it our all,” Giles said. “We put on a very good show, I was very pleased with our show (and) our cabinet was very pleased with our show. There’s not much of a lingering sadness from those who get it because they understand that we worked very hard and that the product we put on that stage is worthy of a ‘PV’ at the end of the day.”

Giles discussed the value he finds in the annual College Night tradition each year with its ability to let students practice their talents.

“College Night is a very wonderful thing because it takes everything that we learn in class, everything that we learn at this liberal arts university and puts it into play,” he said.

Regardless of which side wins each year, College Night stands as a unique tradition that adds one more characteristic to enhance the student experience at UM.

“Being able to transfer (here) and find a home (in Gold Side), find a family that love, support and care about me genuinely in all aspects of everything that I do is just something that I will never take for granted and I will appreciate for the rest of my life the memories that they gave me,” Dewilde said.