For University of Guam seniors Bernadette Tharngan and Ashley Umetaro, Charter Day is more than just a day off from class, it's a celebration of the university and what it offers to the community.
Walking around with mango icees in hand, the two smiled at the visiting kids from the various public and private schools.
"It's just nice to have the community join us and see the university," Tharngan said.
Umetaro said the activities held during Charter Day showcase the diversity of interests and cultures at the campus, and in the community.
"I think that my favorite part is seeing all the student organizations represent their field of study or their culture," Umetaro said. And there was a lot to represent.
In the UOG courtyard, the boom of a pseudo-cannon reverberated as the ROTC students demonstrated strategies for charging through an enemy line to contain a threat. At the nearby UOG Calvo Field House, the sound of CHamoru chants filled the air with a promise of a language and culture rising with the next generation of CHamoru speakers. And a short while later, the songs and claps of student organizations representing their native islands throughout Micronesia filled the air, and invited hoots and whistles of approval.
Near the library were huts built by student organizations, including a red wood and screen Japanese "hut" built by engineering students. Nilo Espinoza, president of the Society of American Military Engineers Student Chapter, said the hut was the first of its kind for Charter Day.
"We knew that the huts represented the islands but there was nothing representing Asia. ... The other students and I wanted to do something and we decided on a Japanese-inspired hut. It wasn't easy, but we figure it out."
Another first was for new UOG President Thomas Krise.
"It is a privilege to participate in my first Charter Day as president of the University of Guam. Charter Day is special because it brings over 5,000 visitors to campus, among them future Tritons, and because it showcases everything great about the University's mission of Ina, Deskubre, Setbe – To Enlighten, To Discover, To Serve," Krise stated. "Today, we celebrate what is most special about the University of Guam: our capacity for producing leaders; our ability to preserve, enrich, and promote the cultures of our island and region; and our contribution to specialized knowledge and meaningful research for the local and global communities."
In 1968, then-Gov. Manuel F.L. Guerrero signed the "University Bill" establishing the school. Later that same year, he signed Executive Order 74-09, proclaiming the campus' first Charter Day. Since then, the event has evolved to become more than just a day to celebrate the university and its achievements.
For Price Elementary School's third-graders, it allowed students to experience the university – and possibly a glimpse into their future.
"Here, they can walk around and see the possibility of these different careers and the path that leads to them," said teacher Charleena Yanger. "Some of the kids already recognize the school and they're telling me that their older brother or sister attends college here ... and the fact that they're trampling the ground and getting familiar with it, it sows the seeds that someday they can come to school and get a higher education and have fun doing it."