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Northeastern community hears ‘unified voice’ at #RiseUpNU

Athletics Director Peter Roby opened up a special event on Tuesday night by explaining that it had been borne out of the understanding that students were looking for a place “where they could come together with a unified voice and where they could support the community and their peers.”

That voice was loud and clear at #RiseUpNU, an event—coordinated by the athletics department, the Nor’easters a cappella group, and the Office of Alumni Relations—designed to bring together a diverse audience and showcase some of the best Northeastern has to offer. It all led up to the unveiling of a new music video featuring the Nor’easters and Northeastern’s student-athletes.

“This represents the collaboration we have across campus,” Roby said. “It’s just so powerful that it brought me to tears when I saw it; that’s how powerful it was for me. Thank you all for putting your hearts and souls into this.”

The video, in which the Nor’easters cover the Grammy Award-winning Andra Day song “Rise Up,” debuted to thunderous applause in a jam-packed Blackman Auditorium on Tuesday. It shows footage of the performers and game footage from recent years—often projected across university landmarks like Matthews Arena, Ell Hall, and Cabot Center—that’s been spliced together to tell a story representative of the whole Northeastern community.

“From the beginning the objective was to show athletes and singers rising to their best performances while also showing the Northeastern community rising up to support one another,” said George Gardner, executive senior associate athletic director of external affairs. “This project has enabled me to work with a totally different group of students. We have a campus where Huskies strive to come together as one.”

1/10/2017- The Athletics Department, the Nor'easters (Northeastern's a cappella group), and the Office of Alumni Relations come together at Blackman Auditorium to celebrate the #RiseUpNU campaign for Husky pride. (Emma Putnam/for Northeastern University)

Prior to the screening of the music video, members of the Nor’easters a cappella group strode out onto the stage and gave a commanding performance featuring songs by artists such as Sam Smith, Rihanna, Drake, Justin Beiber, and Troye Sivan.

They paused only to call up women’s basketball standout Francesca Sally and Nor’easters president Anthony Rodriguez, who acknowledged each other’s power in their respective fields of distinction.

“We live in completely different worlds, but one thing we have in common is the commitment and the time we dedicate to our craft,” Sally said.

“The athletics here are absolutely unparalleled,” Rodriguez said, noting the athletes’ frequent early mornings and late nights practicing.

Just before the event closed, Gardner invited the dozens of student-athletes in the audience to share the stage with the Nor’easters for a final live performance of “Rise Up,” which inspired a standing ovation from the audience.