With the recent end of Homecoming festivities, students find themselves facing a decision: will they continue to carry the spirit on throughout the year, or bury it away until next year’s homecoming?
“Most kids didn’t even know it was homecoming,” said sophomore Michael Eisenstein. As the Co-Coordinator of Publicity on the Homecoming Executive Committee (HEC), Eisenstein recognized weaknesses of homecoming and student body participation.
“To get the most out of what we do, you do have to be in an organization because the way it [homecoming] is structured as a competition,” Eisenstein said. “But it’s open to all of the student body.”
Many students recognized that others lacking awareness toward the beginnings of homecoming festivities. Freshman Tom Bonan attended the Friday night events, but was at a loss for what took place during the first week.
“I had no idea it when it started or about most of the events,” said Bonan.
Though he may not have been an active participant throughout this year’s homecoming, Bonan had no trouble displaying his love for the U by painting his chest for the game on Saturday along with his friends. The group chose to spell out “Spence #31” for the Wake Forest game and caught the first bus there.
Although it was a struggle to maintain individual participation in many events, members of HEC felt the student involvement was comparable to years past. Assistant Vice President of Student Life, Richard Walker, depicted Homecoming Weeks as excellent endorsements of the hurricane spirit from both alumni and student perspectives. Many traditions are upheld through the ceremonies such as the lighting of the candles and burning of the boat.
Walker said, “Some of our traditions are unique because we are young, a little over 80 years established.” Outside of homecoming, he included the Orientation pep rally as one of the most important traditions. It is the first experience freshmen students have and is a way to get students excited about becoming hurricanes.
“You only have to experience it once for it to have meaning,” Walker said.
Freshman Michael Maragos also expressed his spirit and credited the administrative staff for helping instill that sense of pride. “I was sort of brought into spirit by going to games for free and having transportation provided,” Maragos said. “The administration does a really good job of keeping that accessible for us.”
Maragos found this significant difference to be defining for UM fans because the entire student body is offered free tickets to all home sporting events. He described games as one common bond for all.
“Sometimes I’m a little disappointed in that other people are walking with other schools’ gear on,” Maragos said. “But when it comes to game day, I see that people are united in wearing orange.”
One student organization that does endorse the orange for all game days is Category 5. Vice Chair Christina Farmer spoke about the “Go Canes, Wear Orange” campaign and recognized Sebastian the Ibis as one of the best mascots across all universities.
“He brings us together. Whenever he is at an event, he makes the spirit level rise,” Farmer said. She expressed the importance of keeping tradition and referred to fans as “the third man” on the team. Decked out in orange and green attire herself, she agreed that there is always room for more spirit here at the U.
On the improvement level, Hecht RA Jon Schrader felt that students are may be more concerned with going out rather than packing the stadium. “Students don’t seem to care as much here as they do at other schools like Ohio State and Wisconsin. Maybe it’s because we’re private or people are from out of state.”
Schrader recognized that UM does have a mix of die-heart fans and some students who are more apathetic, but the spirit should be in all and carried forever.
“If you are a true spirited person, you never let that passion die,” said Schrader. “When you go back home, you should make it known that you are from the U.”