Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


FAU Students Take Over Austin

Fifty FAU students traveled to Austin, Texas last weekend to support the football team in their season opener against the University of Texas Longhorns.

For $265 each, students took part in a three-day and night visit to the Lone Star state. Student Government subsidized the trip along with help from FAU Athletics, the Alumni Association, and other private donors. Student Government’s Boca Raton campus Governor Tiffany Weimar was chiefly responsible for the trip’s planning and organization.

“It was great for FAU,” Weimar says. “I loved it. If I could do it all over again, I would.”

Students arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at 5 a.m. Thursday, and were in Austin’s Airport Hilton by 1 p.m. Most students rested a bit and then took the evening shuttles to downtown Austin for a night of partying or checking out the local scene, capitol buildings, restaurants, and clubs.

Experience Austin Like A LocalOn Friday afternoon, Weimar organized a tubing trip down a Texas river. Jose Herrera, one of the trip’s chaperones, hosted the bus ride down with comedic rants and FAU Football trivia games over the bus’ microphone. Taking part in what is a Texan past-time, students floated down the river in three or four groups of interconnected tubes, howling the FAU Fight Song and other tunes.

After exiting the river, the entire FAU group traveled back in a mini-bus grooving to “Brick House” by The Commodores and the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right”. Herrera again led the mini-bus trip, breaking out major dance moves and encouraging everyone else to get down as well.

“It was a great bonding experience,” Weimar says. “Everyone met new people and new friends.”

Once back at the hotel, students showered and rested, then came back down to the lobby to help the alumni organization set up the hotel for the arrival of the football players. Red, white, and blue balloons along with FAU banners and signs were draped all over the interior, five story lobby, and elevators. Around 8 p.m., after a delayed plane trip, the team arrived to the cheers of the FAU family, friends, and fans. Coach Howard Schnellenberger shook hands with the students who were gathered in the hotel lobby.

Friday night was another night in Austin for most students, but this time the Alumni Association had taken over a downtown bar – complete with the FAU banner outside hanging down over the sidewalk. FAU alumni and friends partied until at least 3 a.m., when the overflowing downtown streets finally started clearing.

Game DaySaturday was game time, and students were prepared early. For the 6 p.m. kickoff, students were loaded on to one of three buses by 3 p.m. With police escort, FAU students traveled unobstructed with the team to the University of Texas. The Alumni Association had set up in one of UT’s recreation centers, and students ate and drank while listening to a deejay play game-day music. The cheerleaders stopped in for a quick pep rally and FAU President Frank Brogan borrowed the microphone, getting everyone geared up for a possible upset.

The prOWLers, a student group that cheers and supports FAU athletics, had a good number of its members on the trip.

“[This trip] motivated a lot of people that might not normally come out to an away game,” head prOWLer Alysha Klein says. “And I know there were a lot of people at home paying to see the game because we were out [in Texas].”

The Owls’ first quarter gave their fans plenty of opportunities to let the players know they had a bit of home with them at UT. Long drives filled with long passing gains quieted the some 90,000 UT fans and FAU’s hundreds were heard throughout the newly-expanded stadium.

UT fans wore burnt orange and the stadium was blanketed in the color. A huge marching band and many different types of sideline support were out at UT. A crew of cowboy-clad men and women blasted a canon every time points were scored and at each UT kick-off. Cheerleaders did back flips in the back of the end zones for every extra point kick. A full-size, real-deal longhorn mascot cow named Bevo watched all proceedings.

“Respectful, Friendly, Passionate” is the motto for Texas fans. Obviously, not every Texas fan warmly greeted FAU, but there was not an overwhelmingly belligerent or ridiculing atmosphere.

“I thought there was a lot FAU could take back,” Weimar says. “I thought it was great that [the UT] fans put up their longhorn symbol to show respect when an FAU player got hurt. And at the end of the game, the whole [UT] team went down to their end zone and showed respect to the fans and the school while their song played.”

The AftermathSaturday night was a pizza party at the pool and then rest for all. Students were up for another 5 a.m. trip to the airport, arriving back in Boca at 1 p.m. For many students, it was an eye-opener as to how far FAU has come: FAU is now the reigning Sun-Belt Champions when only eight years ago there was no such thing as FAU football.

“When I first came to FAU, I saw very small turnouts to football games and tailgates,” Senior Falan Meltzer says. “It’s exciting and touching to watch how FAU has grown.”

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