Academics Ambassadors Campus Life General Spirit and Traditions

A Letter to the Class of 2026

To the incoming Class of 2026,

Welcome! Welcome to the place that will be your home for the next 4 years, but will stay in your heart for a lifetime. Welcome to the place that just might challenge you to your limits, but those challenges will shape you into the world-changer we know you are. Welcome to the place with the family that will champion you in your triumphs, but more importantly, lift you up and walk with you in your struggles.

As a student finishing my 3rd year and getting ready to begin my senior year, I am nostalgic as I write this and think about all the exciting things that you all, the Class of 2026, will get to experience in just a couple months. Here are just a few of the numerous memories I could tell you about from my first couple weeks:

  • A snow cone social with my entire residential commons on the night of move-in; looking back, a couple of those people I met and talked to that night are now some of my closest friends
  • The first Boulevard! Of course, you’ve heard so much about this, but what really stood out to me was, for the first time, feeling like I was truly a part of the SMU community instead of just a freshman because we were joining such a time-honored tradition with the entire student body and all the alumni.
  • A dinner picnic in one of the prettiest parts of campus, Dallas Hall lawn, with my new friends
  • A long-weekend trip to the SMU-in-Taos campus where we hiked and stargazed

Those are only a few of the things I remember most vividly from my first month or two of freshman year but don’t take my word for it. This is YOUR experience! First and foremost, remember you are at a top school to get a great education, so make your academics a priority. But then… this is your opportunity to forge your own path and take advantage of all those once-in-a-lifetime events that come your way. It’s your time to try new foods in Dallas, or go to a concert of an unknown band, or join your commons on an intramural team for a sport you’ve never played. In addition to all the fun you’ll have around campus and in Dallas, take some introspective time to get to know yourself. These 4 years of college are such a special time to discover who you are, what you believe, and what you value.

As I conclude this letter, I want you to know how excited we are to meet you next year. This campus community will be a brighter place with you in it, and you will surely leave your unique mark on it.

Pony Up,

Sophie Fernando

Class of 2023

Academics Ambassadors Campus Life General Residence Life and Student Housing Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

Finding Community in Your Commons

Move-in day can be scary. While the air is filled with the excitement of new opportunities and experiences, moving to a new location at such a pivotal point in our lives can feel like walking on a high-beam without a safety net below. On move-in day, most college students are moving away from their friends, their family, and their home. But here at SMU, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A “dorm” is a place where students live away from home. At SMU, we don’t have dorms. Instead, we have Residential Commons Communities (each called a “Commons”), which are designed to become your new home.

In my experience, this works like magic. With one faculty member living with their family in a built-in apartment on the ground floor of each Commons, every student has access to a set of incredibly supportive parents-away-from-home. When I walked into my Commons for the first time, my Faculty in Residence (FiR) immediately knew my name and invited me to a home-cooked dinner. Through successes, failures, breakups, and job offers, I never stopped leaning on my FiR family for support and encouragement.

But even with a built-in family, making friends represents so much of what the college experience is about. Luckily, the Commons system has some fantastic ways to build lifelong friendships with your neighbors. I found community through Commons intramural sports teams, Commons Council, and even just hanging out in the building’s lounge spaces. Every Commons puts on dozens of fun events each semester to encourage their residents to spend time with one another. With so many opportunities to meet new people, the commons experience basically comes with automatic friendships.

Throughout my time as a first-year, orientation leader, stampede guide, and RA, I have seen hundreds of students enter this university and find their home. The commons system provides us students with community in an ingenious way: by recognizing that home is never a place, but instead a person.


I found my home on the Hilltop, and I hope you will too.

Jack Lucas

Ambassadors Athletics Campus Life General Spirit and Traditions

Boulevarding Essentials

Hello, party people! My name is Palmer Beldy, and I am a senior studying Creative Advertising and Public Relations. But, more importantly, I am a member of the only grade to have experienced a normal Boulevard. EVER.

“What is a Boulevard?” you might ask. Well, I am happy to tell you that it is one of the best game day traditions on any college campus if I do say so myself. It is such a great time to connect with the entire Mustang community and it reminds you of what and who makes SMU so special. Plus, you get to have the best time with friends, faculty, alumni, and the administration. It’s a Pony Party up in here for every home football game!

Seeing as the Class of 2022 is the only grade to have ever gone to a “real boulevard” before, younger and potential mustangs probably have some questions about how to successfully navigate the whole day like a pro. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to help you rock it on our first home game day this weekend.


  1. Set the Smood
  • Everyone needs a good playlist to set the mood for the day. Some ambassadors and I got together to make this SMU-themed playlist, so take a listen to it while you are getting ready to cheer on the Stangs.


Apple Music:

  1. Your Fit (clear bag and sunglasses)
  • What are you wearing out on the SMU-town? The first game day is simple – all white. White dresses, white polos, or button-downs are typically the norm for our “white-out” on the first game day, but wear whatever you are comfortable in – that is what matters! It is so magical to see the sea of white on the Boulevard at the start of the school year! After the first game, any mix of SMU colors (red, white, and blue!) works beautifully. Typically everyone is wearing fun “going out and about” outfits. My go-to is my red cowboy hat :))
  • Also, make sure to have a clear bag or a really small bag for your belongings per Ford Stadium policy. You can find more information about what is allowed into the stadium on their website.


  1. Brunch Spot
  • A hidden tradition within Boulevarding is to get brunch with your friends before you hit the Boulevard. Luckily, Dallas is home to so many good restaurants, so you will have a new place to try for each game. Some of my favs include Sixty Vines or Dolce Riviera! If you want a chill morning, swing by Merit Coffee or Foxtrot to grab a coffee and a quick bite!


  1. Everything’s Bigger on the Boulevard
  • The Boulevard is essentially a big block party. White tents home to students, alumni, faculty groups, and vendors will sprawl down the Boulevard as far as the eye can see. So make sure to explore and say hi to your Mustang fam! I recommend doing a full lap around the Boulevard every game day. You never know who you might see!


  1. Dancing in the Street
  • Catch the SMU Band, Cheer, Pom, and Peruna make their way around the Boulevard before the game! It is so much fun to get to see your friends and fellow Mustangs doing their thang! Get as close to the Boulevard as possible for the best view.


  1. Download your student ticket BEFORE the game
  • This is a new one, even for us seniors. Download the SMU Athletics app and download your student ticket, or your QR Code, BEFORE game day! That way, you can stroll right on in and see your stangs play without any hangups. You can find more information on the Athletics page.


  1. Pony Pride! Have Fun!
  • The Boulevard is truly one of my favorite memories at SMU. It is so much fun, and you get to see so many wonderful people and leaders all in one place, so enjoy it and show off your Pony Pride!


I cannot wait for every Mustang to experience the Boulevard. Hopefully, this gave some potential Mustangs a preview of all that awaits you at SMU :)) Have the best time this semester, and pony up!


Palmer Beldy

SMU Class of 2022

Ambassadors Campus Life Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

Class of 2025 Stampede Recap

The incoming class of SMU was welcomed to the Hilltop through the Stampede experience. The three scopes of the programming are the Residential Commons, SMU, and Dallas. Stampede guides, such as myself, were trained to interact with and lead a crew of twenty to thirty first-year students throughout the weekend.

This blog post will recap this experience in chronological order with the hope of providing readers with a greater sense of the weekend.


Thursday August 19th:

Kickoff: To begin the weekend, all attendees were in Moody Coliseum for the SMU version of a pep rally. President R. Gerald Turner and the Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Mmeje spoke at this event. They both highlighted their belief in this class to stay safe as we all completely return to campus life. Kickoff concluded with an overview of the next few days and the Stampede guides led their crews to their first meetings in which everyone was introduced.

Home Sweet SMU: Each commons planned a social event for the students to meet more people in their commons and the other commons in the same quad.


Friday August 20th:

Stang Safety: This presentation addressed topics related to students’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Class Photo: Everyone walked out onto Dallas Hall Lawn and stood inside the markings so that the number 2025 would be created by the sea of people.

Academic Sessions: Students were able to visit one or two of the academic college information sessions to learn more about the school from professors and other relevant people. This was also a great time to walk around the campus and learn where the classes are.

Serve Your City: After dinner, everyone returned to McFarlin Auditorium to listen about the importance of community service and how being a student at SMU is tied to the responsibility of giving back to the Dallas area. We also learned about the Engage Dallas program that has specific associations with each of the eleven residential commons.

Stampede Sundown: The field of Ford Stadium became a western-themed party to celebrate the halfway point of Stampede. The event had food, games, a petting zoo, and was a great time to spend with new friends.


Saturday August 21st:

Discover Dallas: Each residential commons group was assigned to a different location in Dallas to explore, such as Cowboys Red River, Reunion Tower, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and the Dallas Arboretum.

RC Brunch: The Residential Community Director, Faculty-in-Residence, and Resident Assistants gave presentations about themselves, the commons, and its traditions.

Every Mustang Will Be Valued: This event showcased the worries, wants, stories, and communities that exist within the incoming class. In a silent McFarlin Auditorium, the flashlights would shine when students related to a certain sentence.

Candlelight: At this ceremony, students are being prepared to officially become a part of the Mustang Family. Third-year guides, such as myself, shared pieces of advice. First-year students from each commons spoke about their Stampede experience.

A Night at the Club: The Indoor Performance Center hosted this enormous club fair. All organizations had the opportunity to represent themselves at this event. The energy was electric as incoming students walked around the different booths while organizations were advertised by current members.

Live! At SMU: In Moody Coliseum, Iliza Schlesinger delivered a hilarious stand-up performance.


Sunday August 22nd:

Religious Life Live: Students were able to listen to the various ways to get involved in religious life on campus by attending this panel in the afternoon.

Commons Photo: Before walking to Dallas Hall Lawn, each commons had the incoming students stand outside their respective building for a photo.

Rotunda Passage and Convocation: Dressed in Boulevard attire, the incoming class walked with their commons into Dallas Hall from the back entrance. They were guided around the seal, out onto the lawn, and on the sidewalk that leads to McFarlin Auditorium. In McFarlin, the class of 2025 was officially welcomed to the university.


Stampede is packed with activities and opportunities to meet new faces. As a guide, it has been an honor to serve the incoming class as a resource for advice about all things SMU. It all starts with a stampede!

Ambassadors Campus Life Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

How It Started vs. How It’s Going

Looking back on the fall semester of my senior year, I can honestly say that I have never been more proud to be a Mustang. Though changes have been thrown at this University left and right, SMU has remained committed to providing the best student experience possible. One of the main ways I have seen that take shape is how the administration has had faith in students to continue hosting safe events and opportunities for the campus community to come together during these unprecedented times.

Over the past three years I had the privilege of serving in a wonderful student organization called Student Foundation. SF brings all of SMU’s traditional events to life on campus such as Family Weekend, Peruna Palooza, Homecoming, and Celebration of Lights. As I’m sure you can imagine, when the pandemic hit we were devastated about what the restrictions and everchanging circumstances would mean for our events. It wasn’t long until I and other leaders in SF had an epiphany. We realized that tradition is not about doing the same thing year after year, but rather is meant to unite the SMU community and help us grow stronger as a Mustang family. And the truth is, there are so many ways to do that! This set the tone for our year and was a driving force behind each event we put on last semester. Though SF’s events in 2020 did not look exactly like they have in the past, I want to share how a special tradition on campus started, but more importantly, how it continued to thrive even in the midst of a global pandemic.

Family Weekend is a campus tradition that is near and dear to my heart. This event dates back to 1973 and has featured events such as Boulevard barbeques, Mothers’ Club Luncheons, student talent shows, cultural events, exquisite receptions, and movie nights on Dallas Hall Lawn just to name a few! These events usually include an address from President Turner, delicious food, and incredible conversations among all types of SMU families and community members. There is something so special in the air throughout this weekend as students welcome their family and friends to their “home away from home”. It is at this point that families get a true sense of why their student loves SMU so much.

In a year when traveling was restricted, indoor receptions were unsafe, and large gatherings were prohibited, SF had to think outside the box. We were committed to delivering SMU families a quality Family Weekend experience, whether they were in Dallas or someplace else around the world. To kick off the weekend, we distributed “Game Day Goodie Bags” to students and families at the flagpole on Dallas Hall Lawn. Since SMU football game tickets were limited, this bag was full of merchandise families could use to show their SMU spirit throughout the weekend. It was a great way to boost morale and to share what other exciting events were happening throughout the weekend.

Our next program was a series of virtual information sessions put on by the different academic and student affairs departments titled “An Inside Look at SMU”. Families were invited to learn more about Greek life at SMU, study aboard programs, and so much more. And the best part is that they could join these sessions from anywhere!

One of my favorite events of the weekend was the “Reverse Care Package Packing Party”. Since many families were unable to travel to campus this year for Family Weekend, SF provided supplies and merchandise for students to send their families a care package from SMU. In classic assembly line fashion, students moved down the line, customizing their care package to include exciting items such as stationary, coasters, M&Ms, and even a custom postcard that included a picture of their student! Once the care package was just as the student wanted it, a member of SF taped it up, addressed it, and put it in the mail cart to be shipped! I loved the inclusive nature of this event, as every student felt as if they could take part in Family Weekend, even if their parents were unable to travel to campus.

After an exciting afternoon, it was time for “Night on the Lawn”. This outdoor concert consisted of live country music, an address from President Turner, Instagram worthy photo opportunities, and precious picnic blankets that families could take home as a souvenir. Additionally, there was a livestream of the event so that families could join in on the fun even if they were not on campus. This night was truly a dream come true! To see families safely gather on Dallas Hall Lawn to celebrate how special it is to be an SMU Mustang was truly incredible.

All in all, Family Weekend 2020 is one example of how tradition remains strong at SMU because of the commitment and perseverance of its students, faculty, staff, parents, and community members. There is a new found appreciation for being able to come together, whether that is in person or virtually, and I have no doubt that the events and ideas that were implemented this year will continue to positively shape the inclusivity of Family Weekends to come. The importance of our Mustang family has never been more clear, and it was such a privilege to get to share that with so many families throughout Family Weekend 2020!


Sophie Pasternak

Class of 2021

Ambassadors Athletics Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

The Hub of SMU Spirit

Hey guys! My name is Nathaniel Ntuk and I’m a rising junior double majoring in Saxophone Performance and Political Science! I’m from Plano, Texas, and have lived in the North Texas area all my life.

One thing that had arguably the biggest impact on my life thus far has been marching band. In high school, it was a place for me to hang out with friends throughout the week and on weekends while engaging in an activity that I love. Moving into a college marching band, there were some changes. Gone were the days where marching band competitions would last all Saturday, long and stressful rehearsals, and spending over 5 hours a day rehearsing for the inevitable competition season in October. 

Moving to the SMU Mustang Band was a little daunting, to say the least. I had little knowledge of anyone in the band or anything relating to the band. Little did I know that the Mustang Band would be the foundation of my experience here at SMU. 96 random college students turned into my second family that I constantly look forward to seeing. With our band having a total membership of fewer than 100 people, it makes it much easier to get to know everyone in some way. A vast majority of my friends have some affiliation with the Mustang Band, and chances are, you may meet someone who is a Mustang Band member that may not seem like it.

Although we may be one of the smaller organizations on campus, we no doubt have one of the largest impacts across campus, being referred to as the “Hub of SMU Spirit” for a reason. Imagine going to a home football game and not hearing the band playing for every first down, or performing before the game or during halftime. It just wouldn’t feel right. Whether it’s football, basketball, volleyball, or even soccer, the SMU Mustang Band has some part in cheering on our athletic programs and driving them towards success. Even if you aren’t apart of the Mustang Band. You can definitely see the impact that the “96 Guys and A Doll” have on the spirit of this campus.

I look forward to seeing what happens this fall semester! Stay safe and Pony Up!

Nathaniel Ntuk

Class of 2022

Ambassadors Athletics Spirit and Traditions

Pony Up Mustangs!

Hi guys! My name is Sydney Ramenofsky, I am from Las Vegas, and I am a freshman at SMU studying business. If you would have asked me a year ago what I am most excited for when I go to college, my answer would not have been going to the football games. Growing up in Las Vegas, we never had a professional sports team to cheer on every Sunday, so football was never my kind of thing. When I came to SMU, my entire idea of football changed. 

You may have heard the term “boulevarding” while talking about SMU football. My best description of it is SMU’s southern, homey way of tailgating. Before I arrived on campus, the only thing anyone could talk about was that the location was changed, as it used to be on the actual boulevard surrounded by the beautiful trees in the middle of campus. The administration announced that it is being moved back this year but to be honest, I did not need the boulevard to get me to the games. 

My friend in the picture and I went to every single home football game. There are no words to describe how exciting it was to be a freshman during this season. At first I was skeptical because in the past, going to the games was not really a thing. But this year, no one could believe what they were seeing and hearing: “SMU touchdown,” “for the first time in 7 years, SMU beats TCU,” “SMU with another win,” “SMU is 7-0!!!” As the season went on, the games got more crowded. When we would win, the students would rush to the field to celebrate with the players—it was like a family. This team created something incredible. For the first time since 1985, students, professors, alum, administration, parents, or anyone with any kind of association to SMU was rooting this team on. Whether it be with them on the field or cheering them on the TV screen, we were in it together.  Athletics at SMU quickly became my favorite part of my freshman year experience and being a part of such a committed and excited fan base is only making me more excited for the next years of SMU athletics. I can’t wait to see the future of this team. 

Pony Up!


Ambassadors Campus Life Spirit and Traditions

A Big Smood

 Hey, y’all! Our names are Ian Perkins-Smith (‘21) and Palmer Beldy (‘22), and we love listening to music. Whether it’s bopping to a new playlist while we are studying in Fondren or cheering on Ian and the Mustang Band at football games, we always like to keep it fun and jam out. Because of this, it’s only right that we made a playlist that we think fits SMU’s vibe. There are a bunch of dope songs to listen to, but we curated our top ten songs to give you a preview of what life is like at SMU. We have a lot to offer you here, and hopefully, these songs can help you see yourself as a Mustang.

The Top 10 Best Songs to Get You in the Smood

  1. All my Exes live in Texas – George Strait

George Strait is an absolute, bona fide, Texas legend, so we included one of his most iconic songs on the playlist. Throughout the song, George shouts out a few Texas cities and how it’s a place that he would “dearly love to be”, and we know you will say the same thing after your first semester. If you aren’t from the South, you might start saying the word “y’all,” or you might pick up a pair of cowboy boots – who knows! All we do know is that you’re going to love Dallas.

  1. Hotel California – The Eagles

C’mon – who doesn’t love this classic? We love Texas, but we also love the out of state kids! There are students from all over the country and from around the world on the Hilltop, and you will get to meet tons of new people during your time at SMU. We know that a lot of students come from California, so here’s a shout out to show some California Love and welcome everybody from the wild, wild west.

  1. American Teen – Khalid

Khalid is now an honorary Mustang after he performed at SMU last spring! Program Council, a student programming organization on campus, was able to plan a big concert for the student body, but there are so many other ways to get involved on campus. With over 200 organizations, you can do big things here at SMU, and maybe even meet a celebrity or two along the way!

  1. Sunday Best – Surfaces

This song touches on the relaxation, being carefree, and the persistent nature of the SMU spirit, but the title highlights the other side of the SMU community as well. While maintaining good vibes, Mustangs really know how to dress! You can see fellow Mustangs dressed to the nines at Boulevards before football games, important meetings, and other special events that happen around campus.

  1. Sure Thing- Miguel

Just like cash and the rubber band and a match and a fuse (boom!), you and SMU are a sure thing. We can’t wait for you to start your SMU journey!

  1. Hooked on a Feeling – Blue Swede

Boulevarding in the Fall, Perunapalooza, Moody Magic, and so much more – once you experience what it means to be a Mustang, there is no going back. You’ll be hooked on SMU!

  1. Texas Sun – Leon Bridges, Khruangbin

Although it gets hot (and we mean really hot) in Texas, nothing can beat a bright, sunny day in Dallas. Make sure to grab a blanket and soak up some rays on Dallas Hall Lawn, or snap some pictures of an infamously beautiful Dallas sunset.

  1. Down – Jay Sean, Lil Wayne

If you are down, there is always something to do in Dallas. Sporting events, concerts, a killer art scene, or even just walking around Uptown with your friends – you name it! So, make sure you are down, down, down, down, down to explore this fantastic city.



  1. Do You Wanna Do Nothing With Me? – Lawrence

Sometimes you need to slow down and maybe do a little bit of nothing! Dallas Hall Lawn is a beautiful sprawl of grass in front of our undeniably iconic Dallas Hall. When it’s warm outside, especially in the spring, people love to hang out with friends, play Spikeball, hammock, or even do homework there. It’s a great way to make sure that you’re a full-time human and not just a full-time student.

  1. Get Down On It – Kool and the Gang

Mustangs love a good get together, and we know that this song represents that part of the SMU community. Mustangs love to bust a move, whether it’s at formals, in the stands at a football game, or honestly in Fondren library (as a study break, of course), and Kool and the Gang gives you the best opportunity to do just that.

Honorary Mention: Bartender – T-Pain, Akon

We’re not gonna lie, we just love this song, BUT it’s a jam nonetheless. Just like the bartender in this song thinks T-Pain is cool, we think you’re cool, and we can’t wait to meet you in the Fall!

For all 90+ songs, tap the link below. Thanks for reading our post, and we can’t wait for you to experience SMU!


Apple Music:

(As fun as President Turner and our staff are, this playlist is not endorsed by the university – this is just for fun and made independently by us!)

Pony up!

IPS and PB

Ambassadors Athletics Campus Life Spirit and Traditions Student Organizations

SMU Homecoming 2019

Last year, I had the privilege of serving as the Homecoming Chair for SMU. Homecoming is a special time for SMU when the entire community of students, faculty, alumni and university neighbors come together to celebrate a time of togetherness and school spirit. My committee and I planned a fun filled week with a pep rally, a philanthropic dance marathon and a parade with over thousands of attendees. We had 31 homecoming candidates that spanned 18 different organizations. I am so proud to say that in 2019, we had the most diverse participation ever with groups such as the Association of Black Students and Theta Tau, the engineering fraternity.

This year I picked the theme to be “Homecoming: A Tradition as Old as Time.” Each organization was given a chance to submit their choices and we had great themes such as the The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Alice in Wonderland. At the start of the week, we started out with our pep rally, Rock the Vote. The entire student body was invited to our football stadium where we asked the candidates questions for everybody to get to know them better and their personality. Our dance and cheer squad also performed to start the week on a fun note.

We had a parade with 9 fully built floats, 4 decorated golf carts and 3 decorated vehicles. Floats were decorated over the course of a week with 10 hours each day available for members of each organization to come decorate. During the parade, each candidate or pair of candidates rode in the parade with their organization walking behind and cheering. They passed out stickers, cups, and fun other items to the people watching the parade.

We then finished the day with an amazing 59-51 win against East Carolina University. I loved being able to put my own spin on Homecoming and get to work with my committee to plan such a special day.  I learned lots of amazing lessons and am so grateful for the experience.

Pony Up!

Abby Johnson

Class of 2021

Ambassadors Athletics Spirit and Traditions

SMU Spirit and Traditions

I always knew I had made the right decision to come to SMU, but it wasn’t until the early end of the semester that I really looked back and realized how grateful I am for the memories I have made here. As the end of  my junior year was cut off due to the pandemic, I found myself thinking–  The next time I step foot on campus, I will be entering my final year as a Mustang. This thought led  my mind down a path of endless memories, as if I was watching a slow-motion movie of my time at SMU.

The memories that stood out the most were some of my favorite events and traditions that have made my time as a Mustang so special. First, convocation when I was nervously walking alongside girls I hadn’t met, little did I know they would become some of my closest friends. As we walked through Dallas Hall around the seal and were welcomed into the SMU community, I remember feeling goosebumps trying to picture what my next four years would be like. That walk was so symbolic for me and will forever be one of my favorite traditions here at SMU.

Fast forwarding a few weeks, I finally got to experience my first Boulevard. As I walked down the Boulevard,  I was surrounded by students wearing white, showing their school spirit. I was amazed by the lines of tents decorated with extravagant chandeliers, each blasting music, and even some with puppies sporting red and blue uniforms. It was then that I truly realized why it is called Boulevarding– it is so much more than just a tailgate. Families happily walk up and down the Boulevard running into old friends, and walking with their future Mustangs. However, you have never truly experienced the Boulevard until you take a picture with Peruna.

As I sat there reflecting on my favorite traditions, the Celebration of Lights instantly popped into my mind. This event happens every year around Christmas time. This tradition will always be close to my heart, not only because of the delicious hot chocolate, but because everyone is truly welcome to join together in celebration.  During the tradition, people from the Dallas community as well as those across Dallas gather together to sing Christmas Carols in front of Dallas Hall as we watch every tree light up the lawn. For me, this tradition symbolizes the community  that SMU creates. Not only is it a celebration of Christmas and friendship, but it is a moment to celebrate the honor of being a Mustang. SMU provides an incredible community with endless traditions that make the University so special. Not only has SMU given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge in an academic setting, they have opened doors for further opportunities and have made me feel at home.

Pony Up,

Ana Paula Martinez

Class of 2021

Arlington, TX


Athletics Campus Life Lyle School of Engineering Spirit and Traditions

Wild about SMU: Family Weekend 2017

SMU Family Weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the school year! It’s always an exciting weekend filled with great company, the best food and countless laughs. I love getting the chance to show my family around the place I call my home away from home. My parents have made the trip from South Carolina to Dallas every year to participate in the festivities, even my grandmother and aunt came from Atlanta for my last Family Weekend.

One of the best parts is getting to introduce my family to some of my favorite Dallas restaurants. Since my parents have been visiting for four years now, they even have some of their own favorites! Our must-hit restaurants include Bistro 31 in Highland Park Village for lunch, Javier’s for the best Mexican food, R&D Kitchen for the most delicious hamburger, and Al Biernat’s for the best steak and coconut cream pie in Dallas. My parents always joke that all we do is eat when they visit, but that’s because Dallas has some of the best food!

I also enjoy showing my family all the great things SMU has to offer. My parents always make a point to attend the “Meet the Faculty” reception at the engineering school. This is such a great opportunity to introduce your parents to some of your professors so that they can really see what you’re learning and doing in the classroom.

And, don’t forget about the Boulevard! This is one of SMU’s greatest traditions and a must for the Family Weekend schedule. It is so much fun to walk down the Boulevard, stop at all the different tents and show your parents all of the Mustang pride before the football game. It’s also a great time to catch up with family friends. It has been great to see the friendships formed between my parents and my best friends’ parents over the years, and my parents always look forward to seeing these friends during Family Weekend.

Family Weekend is always a memorable event, and this year was no exception. The excitement on all of the families’ faces is evident, whether it’s their first time on campus or their seventh! As a senior, I’m sad to see my last Family Weekend pass, but I will always remember all of the wonderful memories made during Family Weekends past.

Perrin Griffin

General Spirit and Traditions

SMU Family Weekend 2016

10-16-evan-giacomini-1 This past weekend, SMU had their yearly Family Weekend, which included a game against our cross-town rival, TCU. My parents flew in from California around 2:00 pm on Friday, and I got a chance to meet up with them shortly afterwards. After exchanging hugs and hellos, I got my parents settled in at their hotel and we made it out to the Boulevard. Boulevard’s are SMU’s version of tailgating; our entire boulevard is covered in white tents where people serve food to stopperbys. As a senior, most of my friends know my parents well, and got a chance to say hello to them. At tents, we ate of tacos, listened to loud country and rock music, and had fun. Even my fourteen year old sister was having a great time, even though she hardly knew a single person there. There are two first years at SMU that are from my hometown and it was really nice for us all to meet up on the boulevard and have our parents visit with one another. The Los Alamitos crew (where I am from) then left for Ford Stadium to cheer on the Mustangs. After the game, we left the stadium to go grab a bite at Torchy’s tacos down the street (hands down my favorite place to eat around campus).

The next day, my family and cousin from Fort Worth met up at my fraternity house for a paired open house event. Our chapter just got the opportunity to move into a new house on campus, so I was excited to show them the upgrade we’d received. One of our alumni owns a BBQ restaurant here in the DFW area and he was kind enough to cater the event for us, and the meal was fantastic. Shortly afterwards, the six of us headed to the Dallas Arboretum, a place that I had heard was really cool, but hadn’t explored during my first three years as a student.

The Dallas Arboretum continuously changes their scenery based upon seasons or holidays, and they just added a pumpkin patch for fall. The gardens host over 90,000 pumpkins and gourds, in every size, shape, and color you could imagine. I was amazed and interested in all the different kinds of pumpkins that exist; I even spent a solid half hour trying to memorize the different names of all the unique or abnormal types. The gardens were beautiful, and we spent at least two hours exploring all the different trails, probably walking close to three or four miles. My favorite view included an overlook into Whiterock Lake, with downtown Dallas sitting on the horizon.10-16-evan-giacomini-2

After exhausting my sister and seeing a good majority of the grounds, my parents headed back to the hotel to change and quickly shower so we could head to dinner shortly afterwards. My dad always tries to take me out to dinner at least once when he comes to town and this time, we went to a restaurant I’d never heard of, but certainly plan to go back to. We ate at a place called the Dallas Fish Market, which is a small, nice seafood restaurant right in the heart of downtown Dallas. The place was unbelievably good, and I was so confused why I’d never heard of it before.

Afterwards, we had a fraternity catered reception at a place off campus. My mom finally met my best friend’s mom, even though I’ve known him since I was a first year student and had spent four or five weekends at his house in Austin. Not surprisingly, my mom and his became best friends in a single night talking together. The reception ran from around 8:00-11:00 pm and then we headed home for th10-16-evan-giacomini-3e night.

The next morning, my dad dropped off my sister and mom at DFW and met me at the Rustic, a live concert venue in Uptown. We decided to go because I had several friends that were going to perform live there that day. We got a chance to see SMU’s Belle Tones, our female a cappella group, and Southern Gentlemen, the male a cappella group. After they put on two amazing performances, we got to see two of my best friends Nikki and Chance perform together at their first gig since forming a band. All three performances were absolutely fantastic, and were made even better because I knew someone on stage during all three. Lastly, Blue Apollo, another SMU band played and the concert was over. My dad had to head out, so I decided to go to the Greek Food Festival at the Greek Orthodox church slightly north of campus with some of the people in Belle Tones, and other friends that had also attended their performance. I got to have probably the best gyro I’ve ever eaten and saw some traditional Greek dancing.

All in all, this was one of the more jam-packed weekends I’ve had at SMU and truly shows what living in a city like Dallas can offer a person on a single weekend. I loved seeing my parents and watching them connect with my friends and their parents. It certainly was the best family weekend I’ve had here at school!

– Evan Giacomini

Athletics Spirit and Traditions

Mustangs Take to the Road

austin-brown-picOne wonderful aspect of going to school in Dallas is that Dallas is relatively close to other major cities. For example, Ft. Worth is 45 mins away, Austin is 2.5 hours away, and Houston is still only a 4 hour drive away. Regardless if one would consider Waco a major city, it is only 1.5 hours away making it was a no-brainer to travel to the SMU-Baylor game to support coach Chad Morris and the football team.
The Mustangs looked good in their first game of the season against University of North Texas, but Baylor would prove to be a tough test for the undefeated Mustangs. Without going into too much detail, the Mustangs, despite their youth, played well and showed flashes of their potential. While they unfortunately came up short in the second half, I was still proud of their determination and excited about their future.
The team wasn’t the only group Mustangs to venture down to Waco. There was a strong group of current students and alumni who were there to support the team. The SMU Mustang Club hosted a large tent for tailgating before the game, which was well attended, and then the fans and the band made their presence known in the stadium. I ended up getting a seat in the Baylor section since I knew the SMU section would be in the sun, but even though I was on the opposite side of the field I could still clearly hear the SMU fans chanting “S-M-U!!!” after each big play. Baylor fans took notice and tried to drown out our fans with their own chants, but I was still able to hear the Mustang spirit. Even though getting to watch the Mustangs down in Waco was a lot of fun, nothing beats Boulevarding at SMU and watching the Mustangs at home in Ford Stadium. Pony Up!

-Austin Brown

Campus Life Life Around Dallas Spirit and Traditions

Peace, Soul, Rock & Roll

I absolutely love live music. In fact, I’ve been too close to the speakers at so many concerts that I have hearing loss in my left ear. When I was in high school, I went to at least one concert a month, if not more. I couldn’t get enough of the atmosphere, the fans, the memories, and the overall experience of a live show. When I got to college at SMU, I thought that I wouldn’t have nearly as much time or money to attend the amount of concerts that I wanted to.

Shortly after the start of my first semester, though, I realized that SMU would make my concert-loving dreams come true. Within a few weeks, I was at a free Aaron Carter concert – who, by the way, was my childhood crush – right outside my commons. At this concert, I happened to push my way to the front and Aaron Carter actually grabbed my phone and took a video of himself on it! Not too long after this, B.o.B. came to McFarlin Auditorium, a 2-minute walk from my residence hall, and SMU students got to open up for him. The next year, I got to not only see, but meet Kailin and and Myles, some vine-famous pop artists who I still listen to today. Chance the Rapper came to SMU that same year. This year, I got to break out my cowboy boots for a free Eli Young Band and Cam concert on the eve of SMU’s 100 year anniversary.

Outside of the free concerts that SMU provides for my friends and me at least a few times a year, we live in Dallas, TX, one of the best places for live music in the nation! I’ve been to countless shows for under $30 over the past few years as an SMU student at all kinds of incredible venues like the House of Blues, Southside Ballroom, or Gexa Energy Pavillion. Just south and west of downtown is my favorite venue ever: The Kessler Theatre. I don’t even have to drive to these concerts, either. SMU students get a $5 DART pass for all four years that we are here, which is the equivalent to two day passes. I can take the DART to pretty much any concert venue I want, and as long as I use my DART pass twice, it pays for itself!

Overall, SMU has provided an incredible experience for me as a live music fanatic. Not only can I walk outside my residential commons and watch free concerts multiple times a year, but I can take the DART for a few minutes and see inexpensive concerts in Dallas. In addition to all of this, as a Finance and English major with a musical performance hobby, I have been able to perform for my fellow students at the Family Weekend Talent Show, Celebration of Lights, and local coffee shops like Union, just a few miles from campus. SMU has already given me so many opportunities to enjoy listening to and performing music, and I still have a few more years to go. We’ll see which concert I see or perform in next!

-Jacqui Jacoby

Campus Life Spirit and Traditions Uncategorized


At SMU, anything is possible. If you want to have a snowball fight in August, you can! That’s what I did when One28, a campus ministry here at SMU, hosted their annual One28 snowball fight! Every year One28 brings out hundreds of snowballs onto Dallas Hall Lawn, so that students can enjoy the biggest snowball fight of their lives.

My team and I during the snowball fight!
My team and me during the snowball fight!

When asked if I would be willing to be one of the team captains this year, I was ecstatic. I could not wait to lead my team, the red team, to victory. However, to win the glorious honor of being the 2015 One28 Snowball Fight Champions, the next step was to recruit the dream team. I didn’t want the people that were the biggest and strongest, but the people that were dreamers. I wanted a team who understood just how glorious it would be to be crowned the champions. To me, these were the real winners.

After recruiting the final member of the dream team, we were ready to step out onto the field and win. The referee blows the whistle, and snowballs start flying everywhere. It was so much fun. I got hit with snowballs more times than I’d like to admit. We lost, but it didn’t matter. It was a blast, and a great way to cool off especially in August. At the end, each member of the winning team received a paper star. One of the winners didn’t want his star, so I took it. So in the end, I felt like I won anyway.

-James Jang