STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s a chance to cool off with fresh fruit and ice cream. The summer celebration is a Georgia Southern University tradition that started in the 1940s. Wednesday’s festivities happened in Statesboro.
The celebration began with Georgia Southern’s new president Dr. Klye Marrero cutting into a watermelon. The tradition of the president cutting into the fruit and providing it as a cool treat for students, staff and community members has been happening since 1948.
But, the tradition has evolved since it’s inception.
” We have an opportunity to bring harvest together, fresh cold fruit, and then also we brought in our partner and one of our graduates with Leopold’s Ice Cream. So we’ve expanded on that tradition, enriched it a little bit more,” Dr. Kyle Marrero said.
The addition of the ice cream for this year’s celebration was a big hit with everyone, especially the little ones like Piper Youman.
“It was yummy and it cooled me down.”
The summer celebration has also expanded to Georgia Southern’s other campuses like Armstrong and Liberty.
University employee Terry Hart who’s been coming to the event for over 30 years said it something he’s always looked forward to. He and others added it’s also a time to meet unfamiliar faces.
“I get to get me some cold watermelon, talk to people I may not get to see on a regular basis and see the new folks. Some of the new folks that come in,” Hart said.
Those sentiments were also shared by a first-year employee Anita Howard, who said it gave her the opportunity to be able to forge new bonds.
“It’s all about the fellowship. I’m a new employee here. This is my first year I just started in April, so I got to see some kind of new faces, meet some new people…Just the fellowship part of the ice cream social was just really big for me,” Howard said.
News 3 asked Dr. Marrero if there would be any changes for next year’s celebration and that would all depend on the feedback the university receives.