Several people have asked me to explain this tradition at the University of Montevallo that I reference a lot this time of year on instagram and Twitter and Facebook. It’s called College Night and there’s usually official coverage of it randomly that I’ll share out as an explanation. Here’s one from 2015.
But I’ll break it down for you now as the Mom of the Male Purple Leader.
(In some circles, that sentence gets me MAJOR cool points.)
So, first. As a freshmen students are invited to join a family/side. Since Eliah chose Purple, that’s where all of my knowledge lies. You don’t have to, obviously, and people on the SGA can’t officially, but if you want to be involved with all of the School Spirit/Homecoming TYPE things associated with College Night, you choose a color. There are athletic teams but there’s no Football team so this is their Homecoming. You want to choose a side so you can be part of the festivities. And there’s a recruitment process and spirit events and I got reports almost daily this year. In the end, you find your family. And a family it truly is.
Purple has a few “things” – their animal is a cow and their “greeting” is the peace sign. It’s almost a tic that they all have this time of year. They “PV” each other with the peace sign everywhere they go. They throw it up in photos and use that emoji constantly. PV means “Purple Victory” and sometimes you throw an MF in there if you want to REALLY mean it.
They do things like have Purple Weddings. There are small ceremonies officiated by the Purple Leaders of that year. Then, all Freshmen are “adopted” by an older Purple so you have Purple Babies. They even have a cabinet position for someone kinda in charge of the Purple Babies.
Oh, yeah, there’s a cabinet, I’ll get back to that.
While being a Purple is a year-round thing, it mostly exists for College Night. College Night has being going since 1919 is is something like the “oldest Homecoming tradition in Alabama” or something like that. Basically Purple and Gold sides write, cast, costume, set dress, direct MUSICALS to compete against each other.
YES. IT IS A BATTLE OF THE MUSICALS.
There is a point tally involved and there are other ways besides the musical to earn points, but for the most part, the best musical wins College Night. But – there are tons of other ways to earn points. There’s several athletic events (as of right now, Purple won Volleyball and Women’s Basketball but lost Ultimate Frisbee) and there are several things they won’t know who won until after they see the point totals at the end of the entire thing.
One of those things is the SIGN competition.
This is kinda the “start” of the festivities and I went to see it 2 weeks ago.
Wait. Let me back up.
Eliah of course loves Purple Side and has been on the cabinet every year he could and in the show 3 years. He desperately wanted to be Purple Leader his Senior Year but it’s an election process and he had to campaign. As a Mom? THIS WAS SO HARD. I wanted him to win so bad because he wanted it so bad. Obviously, since my intro, he got it – but it was tough and I contributed to his campaign so he could buy buttons and stickers and such. He had to give speeches and win hearts. It was crazy and awesome. This was his campaign cover photo. (There’s a Purple Side Cheer that goes: Moo Psi Moo, Milk it, Milk it, Milk it!)
He got Male Purple Leader and the Female Leader is lovely and they’ll probably always be connected on a deep spiritual level after surviving this together. It’s a LOT, guys. I never knew until I went down there.
SO! I was there for the Sign Reveal/Pep Rally. The two sides build these signs (by someone on their cabinet) and it’s supposed to relate to the show in some way. Up until this point (this was late January) everything is TOP SECRET. While the show has been rehearsing for months, the cast is secret, the topic is secret, even the Purple Cabinet is secret. This sign reveal is the FIRST glimpse of what each side is doing. And this is Eliah and I standing in front of the MOST AMAZING SIGN IN THE WORLD. I’m hoping to take better pictures today in the daylight.
As soon as the signs are revealed, everyone goes to the gym for the pep rally. This is where each side takes turns “Circling Up” and the leaders give a pep talk and then they sing their side song. It’s a real song with harmonies and movies and it’s such a cool thing to watch. I watched Eliah and Giselle get everyone pumped up and it was this HUGE spirited family and I was just IN AWE. There are songs and cheers and then they reveal the cast and the cabinet.
And this weekend? Is when we find out who wins.
The show opened last night and here’s the kicker: Not only is my kid the purple leader but HE ALSO WROTE THE SHOW.
I wasn’t really allowed to talk about that until after it opened.
To say Eliah needs to win College Night is an understatement. His entire heart is in this event both as the leader and as the writer of the musical. I mean, one glance at his Facebook page and it’s basically taken over his entire life for the last year.
And it comes to an end this weekend.
Nikki and I are going tonight to see the show, then we’ll come back up to Huntsville tomorrow to get Donnie and Wesley to head back down again. I will see the show Friday night by myself. Then my brother and his wife are coming in all the way from Colorado and we’re going to see the final sporting event (Men’s Basketball) and then the final show Saturday night. Then, after both shows have performed, we stay in the auditorium and cheer and sing and wait until someone comes out and then both cabinets get on stage in their formal attire and stand holding hands while the person (SGA President? Maybe? I CAN’T REMEMBER.) reads SOMETHING. One year it was a passage from Harry Potter. But what both sides have done is given them their “token line” from their own show. And they are listening intently because the reader works that line into whatever they’re reading. That’s how they reveal the College Night winner. And so you know because the side reacts INSTANTLY and it’s like you’re knocked over by the wave of emotion/screaming/crying that rolls off the stage.
Purple side has to win, y’all.
So think all of your Purple thoughts this weekend. The show is AMAZING. I want a cast recording of it, I love it so much. (I got to see some rehearsals and Eliah has been sending me audio recordings as they work on the songs.) There’s a jailbreak song with some amazeballs choreography and I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH.
I’m not biased or anything.
When I was there for the pep rally I got to shadow Eliah as he went to watch rehearsal and cheer them on, and then watched Volleyball practice and we cheered them on, and then we went to watch the cheer team and they showed us their dance routine as they were practicing. Eliah’s job is to be a part of ALL of it. He looks at all of these teams like they’re his children. He’s so proud of all of them. He can tell you something special about every person on every team and it’s BANANAS. I’ve never seen anything like it.
So throw your PVs in the air and wear your purple and know you’ve been adopted by me – Grandma Purple – into the most amazing family on any college campus. The Purple Side Family at the University of Montevallo. Because as their saying goes: A UNITED CIRCLE, IS A UNITED SIDE.