This week marked the halfway point to the annual post-academic year migration of University of Dayton students to the sunny beaches of Florida.
Halfway to Daytona, a promotional program sponsored by the Dayton to Daytona committee, helped raise awareness and excitement for the upcoming trip. With the 2013 Daytona trip running May 7 through May 12, the Halfway to Daytona event celebrated the six-month mark, according to Megan O’Mera, senior public relations major and an executive director for the Dayton to Daytona committee.
Events included a Buffalo Wild Wings takeover on Monday, Nov. 12, with 10 percent of the proceeds going to the Daytona fund and a Kennedy Union Pub event on Thursday, Nov. 15, for UD’s over 21 crowd, according to the group’s Facebook page.
While the committee and campus celebrated all week, the culminating event took place Wednesday outside of KU.
Among other attractions, O’Mera said the event on Wednesday included committee members handing out hundreds of free T-shirts, a live DJ and other student organization participation.
O’Mera said the Dayton to Daytona committee used the week of events as “a promotional tool to get everyone aware and excited for Daytona.”
“It can be hard to picture it six months away,” O’Mera said. “The event is such a great way to relay the message about how great Daytona is and how much there is to look forward to.”
During the winter and stressful school year, the trip “gives a little bit of light at the end of end of the tunnel,” she said.
O’Mera said for those who haven’t experienced Daytona, the week usually highlights students’ time at UD.
“You’ll never have another chance to be surrounded by all of your peers, just having the most fun,” she said.
While freshmen cannot attend – all undergraduate sophomores, juniors and seniors in good disciplinary standing are eligible – sophomores who could not attend as freshmen last year will experience the trip for the first time in May.
Allison Klinefelter, a sophomore communication major, plans to make her first trip to Daytona to celebrate the end of a successful year with all of her friends.
“We don’t have a big spring break like everyone else,” Klinefelter said. “So, I think it’s a good idea to celebrate the end of a good school year.”
Klinefelter said she especially looks forward to “hitting the beach” and seeing the different entertainers the Daytona committee will bring.
Last year’s talent included Mac Miller and Timeflies, who performed for approximately 2,300 UD students, according to O’Mera.
As to this year’s entertainment, O’Mera said, “it’s pretty early in the process to figure out entertainment; generally we don’t have a clear idea about who will be coming until the spring.”
While exciting for UD students, the Daytona trip also serves as a final farewell for UD’s 2013 graduating class.
“[Daytona] is a great way for the seniors to have one last hooray and send off and say goodbye,” O’Mera said.
Sign-ups will begin Jan. 14 online at DaytontoDaytona.com and will remain open throughout the remainder of the semester, according to O’Mera.
However, O’Mera encouraged students to sign up early. She said if students miss the deadline, they can still go to Daytona but may risk not getting a good hotel spot.
For more information, visit the trip’s Facebook page titled Dayton 2 Daytona. The group is also on Twitter at @datyon2daytona.