Who doesn’t love Homecoming week? Even if you’re not a sports fan, it is a fun week dedicated to honor UNCG. Homecoming is mostly an opportunity for alumni to be welcomed back to campus. However, it is also a time for current students to celebrate and show pride in their school.
With various events happening throughout the weekend, all were initiated by the Homecoming Kickoff Party, on Wednesday. Oct. 19.
This event, held in the Moran Commons in front of the cafeteria, was an open, public opportunity to start the celebration. Various booths, stations and performers were organized on each level of the stepped plaza. There were also balloons, inflatable mascots, free swag, food, games; the whole shebang.
The “in your face,” public and peppy nature of this event, served as a model for Spartan Pride for the remainder of Homecoming week. Homecoming, to me, should be a time that students and alumni go above and beyond to show our love for UNCG.
The first thing I noticed was the huge, bright yellow, inflatable Spartan helmet spanning the sidewalk from the EUC to the Cafeteria, forming a tunnel. Giant letters spelled out “Spartans” on the brim.
I personally thought it was a little comical, and borderline obnoxious. However, it engaged every person that walked on that sidewalk, whether they planned on attending the party or not. It almost served as a gate into not only the party on the plaza, but the upcoming week as well.
Two large balloon arches, filled with clusters of royal blue and golden yellow, crowned the middle section of the plaza.
A huge inflatable mascot, Spiro stood on the other side of the courtyard, holding a sign reading: “homecoming.” Appropriately, “Spiro” means “spirit” in Greek.
Upon entering, I noticed the brass glistening in the unseasonably hot sun, as the UNCG pep band prepared their instruments to perform. Soon after, they assembled in front of the waterfall, and began playing; classic pep tones fought against the DJ’s loud speakers.
In front of the band, the UNCG cheerleading team waved pom-poms and danced to enthusiastic choreography.
If listening to the music wasn’t enough, there were plenty of games and activities to get students excited.
There was an inflatable “Rock Slide,” which, despite not participating in, looked pretty exciting. From the side, it was a tall “J” shape. From the front, it was smaller at the top, and wider towards the bottom. You could see how the wall was divided into two halves by a thin wall.
The objective of the Rock Slide, was to climb up to the steep wall, and ring the bell faster than your opponent, on the other side. Considering that the wall is slippery and almost entirely vertical, this is a lot harder than it sounds.
There also was cornhole for those who wanted a more laid back and familiar game.
On the highest level of the commons, there were a few tents organized. Although one was clearly for the DJ, another was sparked my curiosity.
After walking up to see just what it was, I found that it was a stand for airbrush tattoos. While my initial reaction was that of confusion, I realized that every person likes to celebrate differently.
If games were not enough, there was food. Classic carnival food, fresh popcorn and cotton candy, were available for free.
During my time as a college student, I have realized there is one thing that will ensure participates at an event: free t-shirts. This kickoff party was no exception.
Further, there was an enormous line climbing up the stairs and wrapping around the fountain. They handed out dark navy blue t-shirts, with gold lettering reading: “Once a Spartan, Always a Spartan.” Along with the shirts, they distributed UNCG Alumni Association plastic cups. Inside the cup, a sticker was placed reading: “Proud UNCG Student.”
Going along with the spirited nature of this event, another stand was distributing free posters: one for the women’s basketball team, and one for the men’s team.
While I was in line for a t-shirt, the homecoming court was announced and recognized.
During the entire party, a speaker sporadically announced upcoming events during the week. This party served as a gateway into homecoming week; it informed and excited.
For me, as a freshman, it was a new, exciting, inspiring chance for me to celebrate my school.