A USM tradition since 1998 was continued Sunday for the incoming freshman class.
The annual painting of Eagle Walk was one of many Golden Eagle Welcome Week activities. The freshmen cheered on their fellow GEWW Crew mates as they raced to paint their entire section of the walkway first.
"I had no idea what I was getting into," says freshman Alina Martinez. "I'm covered in gold paint now."
It starts with the spilling of cans of gold paint onto the walkway and quickly turns into spreading the paint around in the motions of making a "snow angel."
"You had to wear knee pads and elbow pads and goggles. It was crazy," says Martinez. "You were like rolling around in it and like swimming in it basically."
The group also enjoyed a pep rally with performances by the USM cheerleaders as well as some fun music by rap artist J Mass, who is a former USM football player. Jonathan Massey performed his single "Rise to the Top" for the first time for the freshman class.
"We really needed to focus on the tradition of Southern Miss," says Massey. "Southern Miss is known for hard work, we're known for resilience. Not focusing on coming back from a down year, it's understanding that we're all about the tradition of rising to the top."
USM will begin the fall semester on Wednesday, August 21.