The university is one of six finalists competing in the “Kathy Lee and Hoda Go back to College” contest. The school with the most creativity, originality and spirit will be selected to have the fourth hour of the TODAY Show broadcasted live from its campus. This morning more than 200 students accompanied Sara Haines as she broadcasted a live segment of the show in front of the Marshall Student Center’s bronze bulls.
This week, Haines will be broadcasting from each of the sixth schools and asking viewers to vote on the school they feel has the most spirit. Today was the University of South Florida’s time to shine.
Students appeared as early as 8 a.m. for the live broadcast covered in green and gold. A free breakfast was made available to those that came out, as well as leis and tropical themed props. USF wanted to showcase its paradise-like appeal (palm trees, warm weather, fun atmosphere, etc.) Students wore leis around their necks and tossed around a beach ball while Bob Marley’s “One Love” played throughout the courtyard. However, instead of the typical blue skies and sunshine (this is the Sunshine State after all,) thick clouds hovered over-head.
“Yeah, the weather could have been better, but I’m not going to let it dampen my day,” said Amanda Roark, a senior studying mechanical engineering.
Producers and USF administrators organized the large crowd. Some students dressed up with wigs, beach attire and body paint. Others wore their Greek letters and held up signs displaying their admiration of the two female hosts. Once everyone was placed, the producers had them rehearse the shot a few times. At one minute left until going live, they all quietly took their places and waited anxiously for their cue.
The Herd of Thunder marching band echoed throughout the courtyard and orchestrated themselves behind the excited crowd. Students chanted the traditional USF fight song and cheered as the cameras scanned them from above. The USF Sun Dolls, color-guard team and athletes entertained the crowd and cheerleaders tossed green and gold pompoms into the air. For only 10 a.m. on a Thursday, USF was roaring with energy and pride.
Did the Bulls leave a big enough imprint? We have yet to find out.
The University of South Florida is competing with five other schools: Syracuse University, Ohio State University, University of Tennessee, Creighton University and Brandeis University.
If USF wins the contest, NBC will return sometime within the first week of October to broadcast the TODAY Show. The deadline for voting is Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. The winner will be announced Sept. 25 on the TODAY Show website.
Voting can be accessed here