Orange Bowl Fever


ROCKFORD - Orange Bowl fever has swept over Northern Illinois University, from the lights on buildings, to real oranges in holiday wreaths, to the university president John Peter's desk.  


"We've already seen the excitement that's it's generated with students wanting to go," said Peters.


Friday night NIU hosted its annual holiday celebration at Altgeld Hall.  Giving families and their young ones the chance to tour the building, meet the president, and learn about sustainable practices, the theme of this years holiday celebration.


"It gives back to the community," said Peters.  "I enjoy it very much."


But at Friday night's celebration, the Orange Bowl was a recurring theme.  For president Peter's who is planning to retire at the end of this year, the NCS birth means something extra special.


"I'm so proud of what they've done, and it's been just fantastic," said Peters.


In recent years NIU has made national headlines for tragedy.  The 2008 shooting at Cole Hall that left 5 students dead and the shooter, as well as the murder of NIU student Toni Keller in 2010.


But the Orange Bowl has served as a spot light, showing off NIU's ability to over come and more forward, together. 


"That same togetherness and spirit is exactly the same ingredients that led to our football team," said Peters.


Many NIU students have made plans to be in Miami for the game.


"Being an MAC [team] in a BCS bowl game, that's awesome," said NIU student Reynald Abbot.


While others are trying their hardest to be there.


"I'm going to try and figure it out," said NIU student Jordan Bucsa.  "It's going to happen, I'm going to make it down there."


The school and their alumni are pitching in to make sure those that want to be there, can.


"We're going to take as many as we can," said Peters.


Peters says that NIU merchandise, that's hats, shirts, and anything with the NIU logo on it, is one of the hottest selling college apparel items across the country.

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