With a dimly lit candle in one hand and a waving finger raised high across the air, hundreds gathered around Lake Osceola on Friday night for a tranquil hymn of the alma mater, a symbolic tradition defining Homecoming celebrations. This tradition is only one of many that devoted Hurricanes practice year after year.
Under the cue of President Donna E. Shalala and Sebastian the Ibis, fireworks framed the skyline of the Hecht and Stanford Residential Colleges, a view that was coupled by the sounds of the Band of the Hour and the chants of Hurricane cheerleaders and Sunsations.
Sights and sounds, however, were not the only memorable part of Homecoming. The smell of burning wood and ignited scent was a call for Iron Arrow, UM’s highest honor, to initiate new members and recognize those who share a love of alma mater.
According to sophomore Stephanie Coradin, Homecoming is an annual festival of love of alma mater and celebration of the university’s competitive nature.
“It’s a reminder of the privilege and opportunity of being a student here and it’s just so exciting and awesome to see everyone come together and represent the spirit of the U,” Coradin said.
A sense of pride and satisfaction filled those who trekked across the Coral Gables campus as participants in the annual Homecoming parade, a showcase of floats that hardworking student organizations laboriously constructed.
“The Homecoming parade can be a daunting task. But seeing all the hard work you’ve done come alive before your eyes is something I’ll never forget,” said Aaron Esman, the parade committee co-chair for this year’s Homecoming Executive Committee.
After a performance by Donnis, students patiently awaited the arrival of this year’s Homecoming headliner, Ms. Lauryn Hill.
Ms. Hill stepped onto the stage and quickly demanded the attention of her audience by shouting, “Energy! Energy! Energy!”
Although the cold breeze upon the university green made it difficult to raise energy, a majority of students stayed for the entire performance.
The evening was followed Saturday afternoon by a successful win against Maryland, a win that perhaps recaptured the faith and commitment of Hurricane fans that may have felt disillusioned by previous football losses.
“Homecoming is special to me,” said sophomore Nawara Alawa. “It’s a time where all the UM community comes together, and we can all bleed orange and green.”
Jonathan Borge may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.