February 10, 2010
Spirited cheers and whoops of laughter could be heard emanating from the Alfond Sports Center on the evening of Friday, Feb. 5. In celebration of 125 years of athletic heritage and school spirit at Rollins College, the widely-attended inaugural Rally Rollins event featured a ceremony honoring Class of 2010 athletes, followed by much-anticipated performances by popular comedians John Heffron and Dean Edwards.
Sponsored by All Campus Events (ACE), Rollins Athletics, and the Alumni Association, in cooperation with Rollins' vice presidents, planning for the rally began last year.
“We decided to put on an event much like those held at larger schools with a pep rally and a comedian and we wanted to bring that to Rollins,” said Amy Iarrobino, director of the All Campus Events student organization. “We wanted to build school spirit at Rollins and have a good laugh at the same time.”
Tickets for the rally were sold outside the Campus Center the week prior to the event, which was open to students, faculty, staff, and alumni. One dollar of every ticket sold went to Rollins Helping Haiti. Attendees, all wearing their commemorative rally t-shirts, munched on hot dogs, corn dogs, and nachos as the crowd gathered and the excitement mounted.
Hosted by Matt Killian (Class of 2012), head of First Mates, the Rollins athletic booster organization, the rally featured speeches from Rollins College President Lewis Duncan and several heads of athletic departments. The event also featured classic pep rally games with prizes awarded to the participants, routines by Rollins Dancers, appearances by Rollins mascot Tommy the Tar and several short videos capturing the spirit of the Rollins’ historic anniversary.
Following these segments, the lights dimmed and the gym was bathed in darkness. Thumping music began to build and lights flashed from the professional stage rigging assembled in the center the basketball court. Members of ACE stormed the cheering crowd of proud Tars, throwing foam hands and blue and gold pom poms into the bleachers. As the frenzy climaxed, comedian Dean Edwards took the stage.
Dean Edwards, previously a cast member of Saturday Night Live, is no novice when it comes to making people laugh. In the style of Eddie Murphy, Edwards split the sides of the student body with impeccable impressions, grandiose facial expressions and topically current social commentary. It was a worthy warm-up for the main attraction, John Heffron, winner of the second season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing reality series. In spite of being older than the average college student, Heffron did not let his audience down. He told jokes to which students could relate and gave humorous advice on topics including marriage and dealing with the “real world,” which was met with uproarious laughter.
“I was surprised at the attention level I received from the students,” said Heffron in an interview following his set. “Usually college students either mentally check out halfway through or are too stressed out to even giggle. That’s why it’s always good to perform at the beginning of the semester, because finals tend to dull one’s sense of humor.” After viewing Heffron on television and cable comedy specials, one gets the feeling that he would be a cool guy with whom to “hang out.” Indeed he was.
After both sets, the comedians took questions from the audience, and allowed one lucky student to take part in a comedic demonstration. Charlie Ebert (Class of 2013) and proud X Club fraternity brother was the lucky participant selected. “I was really scared of what they were going to have me do,” reflected Ebert following the event.
It can be said that Rally Rollins certainly accomplished what it set out to do, as over 600 students and 50 staff members were in attendance.
“It made me remember what it means to be a Rollins student,” said Killian. Jim Gerhardt, vice president for institutional advancement at Rollins and mastermind behind the conception of the rally, commented that, “The spirit is in the air. I certainly feel the vibe.”
"It is a great time to be a member of the Rollins community,” said Assistant Director of Student Involvement Jerrid Kalakay. “With Rally Rollins we are celebrating our 125-year history and the promise of tomorrow.”
For more information regarding upcoming events celebrating Rollins’ 125 anniversary, please visit http://www.rollins.edu/125/index.html.
-Justin Braun (MBA Class of 2011)