Virtual USF week kicks off with prizes, events boosting Bull pride

The Center for Student Involvement has put together a lineup of virtual events for USF Week to stir up pride within Bulls no matter where they are. ORACLE FILE PHOTO

Though students will not be able to partake in the in-person festivities that a normal USF Week would boast, the Campus Activities Board (CAB) has arranged a series of events with participation prizes that would make even the least-spirited Bull proud.

USF Week will begin Monday and run through Friday, or more importantly, USF Day, as declared by former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio in 2010. Some celebrations, like Bull Brag, will run for the entirety of the week, but others like Monday’s University Lecture Series (ULS) will entertain students for one night only.

Planning a week of celebration virtually is difficult, according to Coordinator for the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) Alexis Fuentes. He said he anticipates the week to be easier to attend than previous years because it’s online.

“There’s more accessibility for students or parents and family, or alumni who may not necessarily come to the campuses in person to be able to join in virtually from anywhere that they can,” he said. “So we’re really happy to be able to still have this week-long celebration in a virtual setting.”

The week-long festivities will begin Monday at 6:30 p.m. with its traditional kickoff, followed by a ULS featuring actor Max Greenfield, best known for his work in the Emmy award-winning television show “New Girl.” The event will last until 8:15 p.m. and will cost a total of $25,990, covering both speaker and promotional items.

The event’s promotional items will be a popular one, according to Fuentes. For attending the ULS, audience members can win one of 200 campfire mugs featuring the event’s name, which will be shipped to them at the end of the week.

“For kickoff, we’re doing a campfire mug, and on the campfire mug you’ll see the logo along with the actual event name so it’s really just to increase the Bull pride from USF Week,” Fuentes said.

“[The promotional items are] to encourage attendance, and just to get more people hyped up for the week. Each day you’ll see on our Instagram the promotion that we’re giving for that day. Students will be able to see what they can win if they come and attend the event.”

Despite the anticipated popularity of the campfire mug, Fuentes said he doesn’t anticipate it will be as popular as the bull plushie that will be given out during Tuesday’s Ultimate Bull Talent Show.

“We’re really excited for students to come out and participate in the Talent Show, and then get an Ultimate Bull Talent Show plushie, because we know that will be a hot commodity,” he said. “So we’re excited to see the student feedback when we start promoting those.”

There will only be 46 bull plushies available to win, so Fuentes said students will need to sign on early. Even if students come for the plush bull, they are bound to stay for the talent, according to Fuentes.

“So our form just closed [March 26] to participate in the Ultimate Bull Talent Show, so we have a total of four students who are going to be virtually performing,” Fuentes said. “We have Kéydrine Gayle, who’s our Miss USF. She’s going to be our host, and we’re inviting representatives from all three campuses to be a judge for the Ultimate Bull Talent Show.”

The four contestants will be judged by a panel of three individuals, each representing a campus. The Tampa campus representative will be Truman Hoang, who won the Ultimate Bull Talent Show last year. Aldo Jesus, the Harborside Activities Board president, will represent the St. Pete campus and Sarasota-Manatee Lt. Gov. Melisa Escobar will represent the Sarasota-Manatee campus.

The talent show will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. on Microsoft Teams. The event will cost $715.60 in total to run, including the bull plushies and prizes for the contestants.

Wednesday’s event will be Rocky at his best, as students will gather virtually to celebrate the mascot’s birthday. This will be a day-long event, according to Fuentes, with a variety of activities for students to participate in. All of the day’s events add up to a price tag of $3,363.

The most notable events of the day include three virtual escape rooms, which have three different themes. The Missing Mascot Escape Room will be USF themed and take place at 12 p.m. The Exit Files Escape Room will be “X-Files” themed at 4 p.m. and the Zombie Desert Escape Room will be Zombie themed at 10 p.m. The escape rooms will be on Zoom and are facilitated by a vendor called Neon Entertainment, a company that specializes in virtual programs.

Students will be able to register via Google Forms, and they can select which rooms they want to participate in as well as designate friends they want to escape with. 

Rocky’s Birthday Bash will close with an “Among Us” tournament at 8 p.m. on the Recreation and Wellness’ Discord server. The first 99 participants in the tournament will receive a mini speaker.

Speaking of speakers, students will be able to vote on the best student DJ during Bullstock: The Remix on Thursday at 8 p.m. The first 150 students to attend will receive a tie-dye T-shirt kit.

Bullstock: The Remix will last for an hour and a half and feature 10 students who will be given a topic to form a playlist about two hours prior to the event, according to Isabelle Arroyo-Acevedo the CSI student programs coordinator.

The students acting as DJs will play a 15-minute set from their themed playlists. Audience members will then decide who is the best DJ of each round and the winners will receive T-shirts and cash prizes. The event will cost a total of $9,500 including paying the vendor, Aux Cord Wars.

All of the week’s events will lead up to USF Day on Friday. To celebrate the annual celebration, Fuentes said the activities will be entirely social media based. CAB will post different prompts for students to post on their stories, including a “USF Bingo” or “This or That.”

“‘This or That’ prompts are very Florida-related things because we wanted to show that pride of  where you went to school, and the state that the school is in,” he said. “So for example, [a post will say] a Pub Sub or the Sonic corn dog.”

Each post will count as a submission for the social media competition. Each challenge will give students the opportunity to win one of three prizes, either a Keurig K-Mini, a mini projector or a record player. This will make the costs for USF Day a total of $205.42.

At the end of the week, each of the prizes will be packed up and shipped out to all of those who win throughout the week.

USF Week may not look the same as it has in previous years, however, Fuentes said the core values still remain.

“[As a university] we’re still developing. I think there’s still a lot of culture and tradition that is still coming along,” Fuentes said. “So really, USF week is a celebration of our history, a celebration of the university and just a celebration of being a Bull.”