This year’s Homecoming, which begins with opening ceremonies this Friday, will be different than the ones past, as the Homecoming Executive Committee [HEC] has changed the rules regarding the festivities.
The organizations involved in Homecoming used to be divided into three categories: Fraternities, sororities and independent, non-Greek groups. Each organization would get points for activities ranging from the blood drive to Hurricanes Help the Hometown, and one organization would win in each category. Under the new rules, however, organizations will compete in two categories, large and small organizations. Also, Homecoming will last one week and not three and a half, as it has in the past.
The changes were implemented by HEC to make the Homecoming festivities less about competition and more about spirit and fun. The new format is being hyped up to ensure that, even though Homecoming lasts a shorter period of time, it will bring more interest and people to the activities.
We agree with HEC that Homecoming had become too much of a competition. In recent years, the committee spent more time understanding complicated criteria and tallying points than celebrating life at UM. Instead of uniting alumni, faculty and students, the events excluded many students that were not members of the competing organizations. Last year’s Homecoming that passed by largely unnoticed is a prime example of that, and condensing Homecoming activities into one exciting week should draw more attention to the festivities.
However, many members of the Greek community have expressed their discontent with this new system. The Greek organizations have traditionally been the most involved in Homecoming; they thrive on competition, and rivalries exist among the different fraternities and sororities. By dividing organizations into two categories, fraternities and sororities will be inter-competing, which may result in less unity and fiercer animosity (men vs. women, anyone?). In addition, angry contests may result between Greeks and the more organized non-Greek groups like FederaciUn de Estudiantes Cubanos and Association of Commuter Students that typically participate in Homecoming. The last thing anyone wants to see is a bitter fight erupting between Greeks and non-Greeks.
Furthermore, the new rules may put some organizations at a disadvantage in certain events. In organized cheer, for examples, the chances of an all-male fraternity winning are slim, considering that the event consists of creating and performing an original choreographed dance.
Fortunately, organizations still will be joining forces for events like the parade, where at least two groups must get together to build a float. HEC should consider more joint events like this one in the future to help bridge the gap between Greek and non-Greek organizations.
HEC’s intentions in changing the Homecoming rules are noble and a step in the right direction. We’re skeptical, however, that they will result in the level of unity that all of us would like.