Who is Azul?
In 2000, FGCU gave birth to a bird, but not just any bird — the famous Azul. The ambassador for the entire school but managed by the athletic department, Azul was a position some dreamed about being. Whether it was hyping up the fans at a sold-out basketball game or appearing at small special appearances, Azul always has a way with the community. This desire to want to give back has, in turn, led students to flock to earn this position.
“We hold auditions throughout the year and, typically, choose between two to four students to be Azul per year,” said Denise Da Silveira, the assistant athletics director for marketing and sales. “We’ve only had student Azuls since 2009 because it works well from a brand point of view.”
One may think this desirable position may be easy to come by; however, it is more than one thinks. Good physical condition, a bubbly personality and a stature of about 5-foot- 10-inches are some of the standards the department looks for when choosing its beloved Azul. But, beyond the external qualifications, passion and love for FGCU is the driving force behind the selectors’ decision.
“We want a good, all-around solid FGCU student,” Da Silveira said. “Right now, we have an Honors student who is great. It has to be about Azul, not the student.”
Having an outgoing personality and being in good physical condition is only the beginning to becoming the cherished Azul. Before one’s first game as Azul, he or she will have about one hour to train. This training involves running with the FGCU flag, hyping up the crowd and dancing to all different sorts of music. However, the more hands-on, adrenaline rushing, on-the-job training is what makes Azul amped.
“Once chosen, we tend to book a personal appearance first to get their feet wet,” Da Silveira said. Even though this is a paid position, one should want to work for this desired job.
Some Dirty Birds and student athletes even put being Azul on their bucket list and work part-time or just a few events as Azul. This not only shows their love for FGCU but also their loyalty and devotion. Along with students putting being Azul on their bucket lists, some students are so devoted they can’t get enough and come back. This is true for Denise Da Silveira’s son, Alec.
“My son was Azul all four years while at FGCU,” Da Silveira said. “He did it for service learning hours, not pay. He wrote all about his experience as Azul in his college resume. Alec even came back Dec. 26 for the game against Louisiana Tech this year just to be Azul again.”
Being Azul brings about many benefits. Getting to personally know the athletes and having everyone in the community love you are the two greatest outcomes to holding this position. FGCU’s own President Bradshaw even loves Azul and shares special moments with him during each game, event or appearance.
“We want to establish a growing tradition with Azul,” Da Silveira said. “We want people to see holding this position is coveted for FGCU.”
If you think you have the spirit to be Azul and are interested in this soughtafter position, please contact Denise Da Silveira at Denised@fgcu.edu or 239-590-7060.