Popular childhood games will make a comeback on campus during “Make Your Move” Homecoming Week 2016. The event, which runs Oct. 28 through Nov. 5, will give a nod to a classic form of entertainment before modern technology: board games.
The theme was announced during the reveal event at the Rock Wednesday afternoon, unveiled by Sebastian the Ibis and HEC chair Ashley Pittaluga, who said she strives to make Homecoming as fun for students as possible.
HEC came up with the idea for the theme in Spring 2016 with hopes that it would bring a spirit of nostalgia to campus.
Lauren Rodriguez, one of the three HEC vice chairs, said she loves how the theme encourages students to channel their younger selves during Homecoming events.
“I love the theme. When we were little kids, we all played board games, and I think that everyone will be able to enjoy it,” Rodriguez said. “It is a throwback and I am excited to see what organizations would do with the theme. This will bring out the child in them.”
During the week of events, student organizations compete against each other in spirited events to celebrate the annual return of UM alumni and the continuation of university traditions.
“We want to have fun and provide fun for the teams,” Pittaluga said. “We want to sit back, enjoy and provide a great atmosphere that is very spirited and very fun.”
Pittaluga has taken part in Homecoming for three years, first as a committee member, then as a vice chair and now as the chair. She said the week of events is personally significant because of her family’s connection to the university.
“Homecoming has been part of my life my whole life. My dad is an alum and I have been coming here since I was little,” Pittaluga said.
The week will consist of 10 traditional Homecoming events and a few new events, all of which will be based on a board game. “The Game of Life,” “Operation” and “Guess Who?” are just three of the many options that will be assigned in the next few weeks.
Pittaluga said the committee is eager to see how student organizations will incorporate the theme, each creating costumes, choreography, songs and decorations. Part of the theme’s strength is that it is broad enough to encompass a range of ideas, Pittaluga said.
“People were excited about this. It was developed really well and is very versatile,” Pittaluga said.
While Homecoming is a creative competition with the common goal of celebrating the university, the Federation of Cuban Students, also known as FEC, has another goal: setting a university record. FEC has been the champion organization for three years running and would set a Homecoming record were they to win a fourth title in a row.
“We just want to be original, have fun and enjoy Homecoming and we should turn out okay,” said Daniel Carbonero, FEC treasurer.
At the end of each Homecoming week is an annual boat-burning ceremony called Hurricane Howl. Students, faculty, alumni and members of the community all come out to enjoy food, music and the closing ceremony. According to Hurricane Howl tradition, if the mast falls before the boat sinks, UM will win their next football game.
The night ends with a dazzling shower of fireworks above Lake Osceola – something Rodriguez, a senior, said will cap off her final year as a Hurricane.
“It’s really fun as it is the last day to celebrate how wonderful UM is. The ending of the best week ever,” Rodriguez said.
For more information, visit UM Homecoming’s Facebook page.