By Dasia Greer
If you missed Coachella this year, no worries. Tidechella at The University of Alabama is free and right around the corner.
Thousands of new and transfer students are expected to attend UA’s debut anchor event to welcome students for the Fall 2019 Semester. Tidechella begins at 5 p.m. on Aug. 19 at Coleman Coliseum on the UA campus, where every corner of the arena and parking lot will feature carnival games, free food, music, comedy performances and a car show.
The event is part of “Yea, Alabama! Weeks of Welcome” and serves as a way to immerse students in the culture of Tuscaloosa, UA and the state of Alabama. It also helps first-year and transfer students transition to academic and student life at UA.
UA’s University Programs, which produces Tidechella and all “YA!” events, has partnered with Shelton State Community College, Stillman College and the Alabama Blues Project for Tidechella.
Here are some reasons you don’t want to miss it:
1. Food, food and more food.
What’s a carnival with no food? Local vendors such as Taco Mama, Taziki’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill, BurgerFi and others will cater the event.
2. Why drive when you can hop on a PARTY shuttle?
The party starts before students get to Coleman Coliseum with the coolest and most unique aspect of Tidechella: interactive music and fashion shows that will take place on various Crimson Ride shuttles on the way to Tidechella.
“It’s a huge win, in my mind,” said Latoya Scott, director of University Programs. “You go to New York or Chicago, and people are always connecting through music on buses and subways. We have Grammy-award winning artists from the state of Alabama that are participating. So, we want to get students out of the residence halls and onto the buses, to expose them to the culture before they get to Coleman for Tidechella.”
3. Live music!
In addition to the fashion show, party buses and delicious food, local musicians will perform a mini-concert at Coleman Coliseum. Band lineups will be announced soon.
4. Exposure to the arts!
Students will be immersed in the arts from the time they step on the party buses until they leave Coleman Coliseum.
“From blues to jazz, hip-hop, rock and country, and from fashion to interpretive dance and ballet, we will cover the gamut of arts and entertainment,” Scott said.
5. It’s a bop … and a milestone.
You’re going to be at the first-ever Tidechella! Previous UA welcome events at Coleman Coliseum have featured BMX events and extreme student activities, like zip-lining, but the immense scale of this year’s event, made possible by numerous community partnerships, prompted new branding. For instance, Mercedes-Benz is donating vehicles to use in Tidechella’s car show.
“I’m a UA grad, so when I was here going through undergrad and working on a master’s, we didn’t have this type of program,” Scott said. “One of the things I promised when I began working at UA and started working my way up was that students would have a genuine welcome experience and programs they’d continue to reflect on. We’re excited for Tidechella.”
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.