Students celebrate new friends, college start at UU concert

UU concert celebrates new friends, college's start

The One With the Concert on the quad Thursday night featured BRI, Sarah Gross and Tessa Pulgar.
Published: August 27, 2021
Sarah Gross singing and holding her acoustic guitar a the One with a Concert on the Orange Grove concert
Sarah Gross performed at the One With the Concert to welcome new and returning students in one of the beloved spots on campus: the Orange Grove.

A large crowd of freshmen, first-year transfers and returning sophomores kicked off their Syracuse University experiences with live music and new friendships at The One with the Concert on the Orange Grove Thursday night.

The One with the Concert marked University Union’s first school year event and their second concert featuring student artists. Laurel Matsui, Bandier program junior and University Union’s concert director, said the Office of First-Year and Transfer Program approached UU to help organize the event. The concert gave new students the chance to recognize and support SU’s student talent as well as  get a preview of what the next four years could hold.

“We want to give them a taste of Syracuse,” Matsui said.

The Friends-themed event featured Instagram worthy backdrops like the iconic purple door from the hit TV show and performances by SU student artists BRI, Tess Puglar, and Sarah Gross.

The iconic sitcom  theme extended to the emerging friendships among the first-year students. Acting freshman Ragan Darmody-Latham met new students within and outside of her major at the event, including biochemistry freshman Sonali Kumarswamy.

“It’s the most fun I’ve had all summer,” Darmody-Latham said.

Kumarswamy agreed. She said it was great to talk to so many new people.

Small groups of students sang along to a pre-show playlist of nostalgic hits from bands like The Killers, Paramore, Fall Out Boy, and Simple Plan. A hum of nervous chatter filled the air as they wandered the Orange Grove, formed new friend groups and claimed seats on the Carnegie Library steps.

When BRI took the stage with her acoustic guitar, the nerves quieted.

“I’m here to take you into the best four years of your life,” BRI said.

BRI singing and playing her acoustic guitar at the One with the Concert on the Orange Grove
BRI opened the One with the Concert show.

BRI warmed up the audience with a charismatic acoustic set. Halfway through her six-song set, she led the audience in an animated call and response, and, by the end, her cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” encouraged even the more tentative first-year students out of their seats to dance.

A crowd of First-year, transfer and sophomore students gathered to celebrate the new school year and being Orange
A crowd of first-year, transfer and sophomore students gathered to celebrate the new school year and being Orange.

Fellow SU students Tessa Pulgar and Sarah Gross kept the energy BRI created going. The three musicians wove sets based on relatable themes for the first-year students, including hookups and “situationships,” best friend breakups and navigating adulthood. The new students loosened up as they danced to the music, snapped selfies, and high-fived Otto the Orange.

For marketing management and business analytics freshman James Crane, last night’s event marked the beginning of what he hopes to be a memorable four years.

“I’m looking forward to taking advantage of all the opportunities Syracuse has to offer,” Crane said.

Avatar for Katherine Kiessling

is a graduate student in the Goldring Arts Journalism and Communications program and a digital producer for The NewsHouse.