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SGA hosts annual Pilgrimage to Penfield event

Mercer's class of 2022 eating lunch during the Pilgrimage to Penfield. Photo by Natalie Yaeger.

Mercer's class of 2022 eating lunch during the Pilgrimage to Penfield. Photo by Natalie Yaeger.

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Just over 500 students made the annual trip to Penfield, Ga., Oct. 21 to see the original campus of Mercer University before its relocation to Macon in 1871. This year ’s included a chapel service, speeches from students and faculty, heritage events, fireworks and more.

Pilgrimage to Penfield is a yearly university tradition planned by the Student Government Association (SGA) to bring primarily first-year up to Greene County to see where Mercer University began. The old college grounds still house the original university chapel as well as a cemetery where notable trustees, presidents and leaders of Mercer are buried.

Clark Myers, SGA Senator-at-Large and chair of the Heritage Life Committee, said there were about six months of planning that went into the event“There was a lot of logistical planning that had to be worked through, like legal aspects, liability issues and transporting all of the students”

Many of the students in attendance were first-year experiencing these aspects of Mercer’s heritage for the first time. Shammah Udoudo, one of these freshmen, said the speeches she heard that day inspired her.

“Their experiences told me that you only have to have an idea to start because it doesn’t matter where you come from, only that you have focus,” she said.

The speeches urged students not only to reflect on the past but also look forward to the future. Senior Grant Shelton talked about the importance of “the little things,” Spanish professor Alana Alvarez reflected on Mercer’s history and senior Keegan Moody talked about his growth since his freshman year.

After the chapel ceremony, students gathered outside to listen to music and wait for the fireworks to begin. Jahni Jules, a freshman student at Mercer, said that she enjoyed learning about Mercer’s history and traditions.

“I can’t wait for the next three years of Mercer to be just amazing,” she said.

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SGA hosts annual Pilgrimage to Penfield event