A new and improved Homecoming

Chelsea Birdsall

The Special Events Committee (SEC) decided to update Homecoming events and revamp ideas to make this years Homecoming especially memorable in honor of its 80th anniversary.re-IMG_5162

The SEC made goals for itself and homecoming at its retreat this year, SEC Coordinator, Megan O’Brien said. One goal was to see more participants interacting throughout the entire week.

“We are putting a different spin on the original events to increase participation in Homecoming for this year,” O’Brien said.

Kicking off Homecoming on Sunday, Sept. 13, will be the classic Homecoming event, Dead River Games. The games were shortened to just two events: the ice cream drop and an extended obstacle course that is much more involved than in previous years. This year will be “long and messy,” O’Brien said.

The updated King and Queen competition will be held Monday, Sept. 14. The theme wear for this year will hone in on school spirit as participants wear their best NMU apparel. Voting has changed for the competition. Audience members will receive a ballot with three votes and each vote must be used on a different person. If the rule is not followed, the ballot will not count.

The Stepping Competition has also been altered so that the steppers will have to incorporate NMU’s fight song into their routine. The competition will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 16. In order to receive points, however, steppers will also need to perform at the tailgate before the game as well.

A completely new activity was added to the Homecoming week line-up for Thursday, Sept. 17. A large-scale Capture the Flag game will extend from the Magers/Van Antwerp courtyard to the Thomas Fine Arts building. SEC advisor Sara Hujar said she is especially excited for the atmosphere this event will create across campus.

“As Capture the Flag is open to anyone at NMU, including faculty and staff, we’re hoping that individuals who aren’t on a team competing in Homecoming will get excited about the event and participate,” Hujar said.

The parade will remain largely unchanged except for the twist that was added for float themes. Groups will now be able to apply any theme that has been picked in the past and incorporate the design into their floats. ASNMU President Lindsey Lieck said she is really excited about this idea.

“This year should be much more exciting with a twist in the theme. I hope it brings in more people because of the choices the theme brings to the table,” Lieck said. “It’s a good way to encourage students to support what they’re passionate about, which will make it much more fun for them.”

Though there are quite a few new ideas incorporated into the week, a few events will not see changes. The Scavenger Hunt, “Change That Makes Cents”,  “Where’s Wildcat Willy” and the pre-game tailgate will remain the same.

In hopes of increasing participation, O’Brien said changing events may increase curiosity of those off-campus to see what had changed since they lived on campus.  Junior public relations major Molly Egelkraut thinks the potential for increased participation is high.

“When I lived in the dorms, I was very active both as a participant in Homecoming and as a committee member,” Egelkraut said. “I think this year’s Homecoming will have tons of super fun events.”

Off-campus students are the hardest group to reach as far as involvement is concerned, said O’Brien. Lieck agreed.

“I feel like off-campus students are the largest portion of students at Northern but also suffer from the largest disconnect to events like Homecoming,” Lieck said.

Senior ecology major Daniel Mayle Jr. said he was never really a fan of Homecoming events when he lived on campus and has less interest now that he lives off campus.

“I was never really interested in that stuff, even when I was on campus. I never really cared about the events and I never really got into them,” Mayle said. “I didn’t know they were changing anything about Homecoming this year, but Capture the Flag sounds kind of cool.”

Like many other groups on campus, ASNMU will be participating in Homecoming much like they have in the past with the parade, according to Lieck. Before the parade on Friday, Sept. 18, ASNMU and the Alumni Association will have a clothing drop off for Seconds for Success, a mobile career closet put together by ASNMU. Students will have the chance to talk to the alumni about future resources in the job market. Lieck said this was a great way to incorporate alumni into Homecoming.

“This is an exciting opportunity for students to look into their futures by talking to alumni and sharing the connection NMU provides,” Lieck said.

As homecoming gets closer, the small 10-person committee is pushing to make sure the last few details are in place. Hujar said this is a huge project that has been in the making for months.

“The committee has been working on the planning of Homecoming since the end of the winter semester,” Hujar said. “With the week taking place so early in the fall, many members even sacrificed time from their summer breaks to help make sure each event is prepped and ready.”

Lieck said she loves Homecoming and suggests everyone go out and tries something new.

“If I had to give advice to the incoming freshmen about homecoming, I’d tell them to just get out to an event whether it’s the football game or Capture the Flag,” Lieck said. “Just do something. Homecoming is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and support the Wildcats.”