Groundhog 2017: the faces behind the coming events

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Students look forward to the events surrounding Groundhog every year, which require planning from a variety of people. Photo by Paulina Martin.

Among the many unique traditions at the University of Dallas, Groundhog is perhaps the most prominent and beloved.

Started 50-odd years ago, the tradition shows no signs of waning — there are plenty of events to satisfy your Groundhog love.

Planning commences in the summer, seven to eight months before the February event.

Katie Spellmeyer and Carolyn Mackenzie of the Student Programming at University of Dallas (SPUD) board, in addition to director of Student Programming Moey Brown, met in the summer months to design the trademark sweatshirt.

The process, according to Spellmeyer, is highly collaborative and comes with many challenges.

First, a general theme is chosen. Then, the fine details are perfected through trial and error.

Brown designed this year’s campfire-inspired sweatshirt with help from Mackenzie, who incorporated the flames with the quote on the back.

“When I first saw the groundhog face that Moey came up with, I was over the moon,” Spellmeyer said.

During this time, they also discussed community integration during the event.

The Groundhog committee also participates heavily in planning and logistics.

TGIT coordinator Elizabeth McGavran organized the beer tasting, live band, double-decker TGIT, and crowning of the Groundhog King and Queen.

The Senior Committee, headed by Rachel Parkey and Joey Kelly, planned the Champagne Breakfast for Friday morning, Feb. 3, while Mary Kate Elfelt organized the Student Foundation’s Groundhog 5k, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 4, at 9 a.m.

Diego Healy coordinated the traditional upperclassmen vs. lowerclassmen powderpuff football game with a twist: this year, there will be a national anthem competition at halftime. The event will be held Saturday morning at 11.

Of course, the main event is still the Party in the Park, which will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Due to the continued flooding in the traditional park area, the Party in the Park will be held on campus, adjacent to the outdoor basketball courts.

Additional help was provided by Catherine Duplant, director of student activities of recreational services, Student Affairs coordinator Stephen Thie, the Advancement and Business Offices, Campus Safety, and the Office of Student Affairs.

Ultimately, this is part of what makes Groundhog so special beyond the quirkiness: it is truly a community event, planned by the students, administration and alumni, and it is filled with both tradition and innovation.

“It’s going to be a fantastic weekend and I’m so excited for everyone to get to experience the result of everyone’s hard work,” Spellmeyer said. “Groundhog 2017: It’s gonna be lit.”

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