Spirit march and bonfire
As the sun began to set and the air began to cool for another crisp October night, a mass of students clad in T-shirts emblazoned with Greek letters milled around on Maple Street. At 7 p.m., they fell in line and began the walk across campus to the site where the annual bonfire would be lit.
Led by the band, cheerleaders, dancers and Scrappy, the gang of students chanted and sang songs of UNT pride.
"This is so much fun," said Tiffany Duran, a Delta Gamma member studying psychology, as she walked linked arm in arm with six of her sisters. "It's all about school spirit and being proud of UNT and everything we are. I just love it. I've loved going to all the other games, but this is really, really special."
The group swelled as it marched by each residence hall. Each new group joined and the chanters got louder — competing with each other for recognition of their clan.
The entire crowd cheered in unison as John Pundt, a freshman Clark resident, ran up the side of the university's entrance sign along I-35E and did a full-body flip. Twice.
"We have the ultimate school spirit," said Leshae Leonard, another Clark Hall resident who is studying electronic media. "I love this university."
With painted faces, Eagle costumes, signs and whistles, the more than 1,000 students marched — or rode on the shoulders of their friends — to show off their Mean Green spirit.
As the students in the spirit parade crossed the freeway and entered Mean Green Village, they joined hundreds more of their fellow students and others filled with UNT pride. Nearly 5,000 people attended this year's bonfire and Yell Like Hell contest, which allows each organization to present a unique chant and dance to show off its green pride.
Between the evening's events, a DJ played and the students danced and partied.
"It's wonderful to see so many people here having such a great time," said Joe Jefferson ('57), a Golden Eagle who traveled back to campus from Georgia for his 50th reunion. "This isn't the same school that I went to, it's grown so much. And I've seen pictures in the magazine and kept up with the changes on the Internet, but seeing the campus in person, well it's really just so much more awesome than I imagined."
A member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, Jefferson was especially pleased to see today's chapter members participating in the contest.