By: Alise Jarmusz – Asst. News Editor
Dayton2Daytona has been a year-end staple for the University of Dayton since 1977.
Executive Directors and seniors Drew Heldt and Mike Ohradzanski said they are working hard to make this year’s trip better than ever.
One of their biggest events planned for this semester is Halfway2Daytona, which will be held Wednesday, Nov. 12, starting around 11 a.m. The event will be held at Kennedy Union and ArtStreet, according to Ohradzanski, an electrical engineering major.
“We are hoping to have a band play at ArtStreet during Halfway, so it’s going to be a ton of fun,” Ohradzanski said.
“Dayton2Daytona also hopes to plan a scavenger hunt for Nov. 12, in addition to an appearance by ‘Daytona Man,’” entrepreneurship major Heldt said.
“’Daytona Man’ is going to run around with a bandana on his head, and if you can get the bandana off his head you get a free trip to Daytona,” Ohradzanski said.
“Halfway will have pretty much everything you’ve seen in the past. We will have a DJ out there, and we will have bouncy castles and a ton of giveaways such as free trips and first hotel spot giveaways,” Heldt said.
Ohradzanski added that they hope to put together a “golden ticket” prize for Halfway2Daytona.
“We would like to partner with The Galley and we are giving out hot dogs throughout the day downstairs at KU. With one of the hot dogs there will be a golden ticket for a free trip to Daytona,” he said.
Ohradzanski and Heldt said they are also excited about this year’s Passports Program.
“The Passports Program is similar to the AVIATE program. We are going to have a bunch of sponsored events on campus where if you go to them, you get a stamp on your passport. The people with the most stamps at the end of the passport season will get a discount on their D2D trip price,” Ohradzanski said.
According to Heldt, the discount will cover around $60 to $80 of the trip, and the events will be educational or service based.
Ohradzanski reminded students about Free Stuff Friday and Dayton2Daytona’s free trip contests through Twitter and Instagram.
“So every Friday up until Halfway2Daytona, we will be somewhere on campus, and we will be giving out free stuff until we get rid of all of it. Look out for our tweets about an hour before the event on Friday,” he said.
They said the Dayton2Daytona executive board also hopes to make some small changes to May’s trip, including adding three days of performers instead of just two, and planning even more engaging events for the pool deck.
Heldt and Ohradzanski said it is too early to say who will be performing, but said they would love to arrange one day of student performers. In addition, they hope to keep prices within $20 to $30 of last year’s price and understand students are very price-conscious when making the decision to go to Daytona.
“Changes in prices are not entirely up to us. The company that we have been working with for the past few years called Breakaway Tours is going through some restructuring right now,” Heldt said. “Prices for Daytona are going to depend on the figures that they give us.”
Dayton2Daytona will also be increasing security and will be holding more safety forums before the trip.
“Security is a big concern for us, and we are making sure we address the issues with theft that we noticed last year. We are improving small parts of Daytona to make the experience more seamless, but the heart and soul of Daytona will stay the same,” Heldt said.
Heldt and Ohradzanski also plan to fine-tune the hotel lottery system by basing the system on seniority.
According to the Dayton2Daytona team, one of the best parts of the trip is that the UD campus community travels with students to Florida.
“Just because we are in Daytona doesn’t mean we have a different atmosphere than what we have on campus. Everyone still cares for each other and looks out for each other. That’s one thing that I really love about Daytona. It really brings everyone together as a school,” Ohradzanski said.
“Dayton’s community comes with us to Daytona. It really is something that we’ve noticed and think is pretty cool,” Heldt added.
“We’re beyond excited for this year,” he said. “It’s going to be better than ever.”