Like an army heading into battle, more than 80 students marched from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s quadrangle to the home of President Joseph Savoie early Friday morning.
Their mission: to yell, scream and sing until he woke up and faced the crowd in his pajamas.
In its second year, Wake Up the President serves as a spirited way for students to begin the last day of the first week of school.
Students began gathering in the quad at 6:30 a.m. to prepare for their crusade, while others sleepily wandered in shortly before the practice yelling was to begin.
“It’s something to get the students involved, something unique and something I don’t think is being done in any other part of the country,” said David Lynch, the College of Education professor who started the event.
“I was looking for things like traditions that would be interesting to do, and I have some out-there ideas sometimes, and I thought, ‘Hey, let’s go wake up the president.’ ”
Mass communications senior Peter Newton decided it was definitely worth the effort to wake up early for the event.
“Dr. Savoie is such a big deal on our campus, and he really does want to get to know each and every one of us,” Newton said.
Once the students arrived outside the red-brick mansion graced with grand white columns, they began chanting “Bon matin, Savoie,” a good-morning homage to the university’s French influence.
The chant started softly but grew louder until the man of honor walked to the porch, waving and smiling. Even though he was dressed in khakis and a red checkered button-up (not your typical pajama wear by any means), the crowd still cheered and began to sing the university’s Ragin’ Cajun fight song.
“I’m excited to see so much energy this early in the morning,” Savoie told the crowd.
After the singing and yelling subsided, Savoie wished the crowd a good morning and posed for pictures with the students.
He was joined by his wife, Gail Savoie, who was wearing red pajamas, a Ragin’ Cajun robe and slippers.
“It’s a nice way to wake up in the morning, to bright, happy faces,” she said.