Bird’s Eye View of the U

About 1,000 UM freshmen and other students assembled on the Foote Green to form a giant U.

From UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 26, 2014) — The call for assistance went out on social media weeks before the start of the 2014-15 academic year: The University of Miami’s newest Hurricanes were needed for a special project of jumbo-sized proportions. The word spread so quickly that by the time New Student Orientation rolled around, UM’s office of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement had more than enough able bodies on hand to accomplish a feat that would have made even Robert Ripley, creator of Ripley's Believe it or Not!, proud.

Braving another warm South Florida day, about 1,000 freshmen, transfer, commuter, and international students assembled August 23 on the Foote Green to form an oversized split U, the iconic symbol of their beloved University. Many of them arrived in groups, coming together like a giant school of fish to shape themselves into a U that was 18 times larger than the metal statue version of the logo that stands on the lawn near the UM Rock.

Making it happen was no easy task, though. “I knew we had to be exact on the measurements,” said Lexi Matiash, director of commencement and special projects, who handled the logistics for the project.

Matiash first recorded the dimensions of the University’s metal U statue, scaling up her measurements and then using stakes and ropes to form an outline of a U on the Foote Green. She then used four cans of orange spray paint to trace the U’s outline. In all, the setup process, even with the help of a professional production company of riggers, took about four hours. When students started to arrive, they merely had to fall in place—on the left side of the U if they were clad in orange T-shirts, on the right if they wore green. Even UM mascot Sebastian the Ibis showed up.

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