Students to revamp game day traditions
Published: Monday, February 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 02:02
While the 2011 Homecoming week featured an award ceremony, a buffet and a Main Street restaurant tour for graduates, university officials said current students were offered few opportunities to celebrate, aside from the pre-game tailgate.
To help increase participation, Director of Alumni Relations, Cindy Campanella, announced the creation of the university's first-ever Homecoming student committee in December.
"We can try to put together things we think students want to do, but doesn't it make more sense for students to have a direct hand in planning exactly what it is they want?" Campanella said.
The committee will conduct the planning, managing and marketing of the 2012 event, and will hold bi-monthly meetings beginning this March through Homecoming itself.
Applications are due by Friday at 5 p.m. at the Office of Alumni Relations and interviews will be held from Feb. 27 through Feb. 29. Committee members will be announced by March 1.
Freshmen, sophomores and juniors are encouraged to apply, and Campanella said ideal candidates are "students that feel connected to the university, [who are] in tune with what's going on and have a good grasp on what their peers want."
Christine Scheirer, program coordinator for the Office of Alumni Relations, said the university has sought to enhance student involvement for several years. She noted the implementation of Homecoming Spirit Stations, which award university gear to students and faculty dressed in blue and gold, in 2010.
"We decided we were going to move forward with the student committee after this past Homecoming," Scheirer said. "We really decided we needed more student involvement."
Scheirer will serve as committee's adviser, and said students with marketing and advertising skills would be vital to the committee's success.
Students who were involved in last year's Homecoming celebrations said they were almost all part of organizations or clubs who had a direct role in the festivities.
Sophomore Jake Lefler, a member of the a capella group The Deltones, said he performed in multiple Homecoming activities, including singing the national anthem at the game.
"I was technically required to be there," Lefler said. "Not that I didn't enjoy it."
Freshman Jordan Peters, a member of the university's marching band who performed during the 2011 Homecoming, likes the idea of a student committee to better organize the week's events.
"I think that if you form a Homecoming committee, more students will be aware of what's going on," Peters said. "The only improvement [would be] to get people to know what's going on during Homecoming."
Campanella and Scheirer both said they hoped the committee would become an annual tradition. They called the next year's Homecoming a blank slate, and think the freedom given to the committee will help students take ownership in their celebration.
"We don't know what [the students] are going to ask for," Campanella said. "We want them to recreate Homecoming."