4th Side Event Excites First-Year Students for What’s Ahead

August 20, 2023 By Shannan McCance, bma6yg@virginia.edu Shannan McCance, bma6yg@virginia.edu

As University of Virginia first-year students poured through Scott Stadium’s pergola Saturday at sunset, cheerleaders’ exuberant voices greeted them with a hearty “Go Wahoos!” The cheerleaders hyped up the students, some of whom had settled into their new dorms just hours earlier.  

This was their warm welcome to the 4th Side pep rally – and to their new home on UVA’s Grounds.

Students slipped into free UVA T-shirts to color the stands orange and blue. Cavman mugged for selfie-snapping students. The rally’s goal was to create an exciting environment for the thousands of new students, and provide them with a fun and comfortable atmosphere where they could strike up a conversation with anyone.

Related Story

‘Inside UVA’ A Podcast Hosted by Jim Ryan
‘Inside UVA’ A Podcast Hosted by Jim Ryan

That’s what first-year student Deshani Bandara from Sri Lanka said she felt as she arrived – “really happy and excited.”

A group of cheerleaders pre-rally
Cheerleaders and dance team members welcome first-year students to Scott Stadium and their role as “4th Side” members, which to the football team is an extension of their sideline energy.
Cheerleaders dancing on the field
Cheerleaders and dance team members amp up the crowd, helping introduce first-year students to the UVA culture.

Bandara and her Class of 2027 classmates learned “The Good Old Song,” most for the first time, linking arms and swaying together. They were taught the meaning of the “4th Side” – a term referencing the importance of the football players on the sidelines and the fans in the stadium’s stands supporting the offense, defense and special teams on the field – as a crucial part of the game-day experience.

A loud cheer from the students welcomed UVA football coach Tony Elliott and his team to the stadium. Elliot, in turn, welcomed them to their new home. The students threw their arms in the air to spell “UVA” as the Cavalier Marching Band boomed and later spilled onto the field and clustered into groups forming “UVA” as a drone hovered overhead.  

Here are some more images of the 4th Side pep rally:

A group of the football players entering the field
Just a week away from its first game, the UVA football team took the field to a boisterous cheer from the new students.
Tony Elliot speaking to the crowd
Football coach Tony Elliott welcomed the new students to their new home, telling them he hopes they’ll surge into Scott Stadium to cheer on the team for home games.
Crowd chanting together
New students learn “The Good Old Song” and other UVA chants and customs at the 4th Side pep rally.
Cheerleaders with pom poms
Cav Man stands above the crowd
4th Side Flag stretched proudly over the crowd
Students smiling with UVA Football shirts on
Fireworks concluding the celebration

Media Contact

Mike Mather

Managing Editor University Communications