While everyone else was thinking about candy canes and Christmas trees, Homecoming Executive Committee (HEC) Chair Roly Caledrin was already thinking about Alma Mater and O-Cheer.
Since December, Calderin and the HEC have been planning this year’s homecoming festivities. Alma Mater and O-Cheer are two University of Miami homecoming traditions.
Calderin, a senior, has been involved with homecoming since his first year at UM. He was a member of a competing organization, Association of Commuter Students (ACS), his freshman and sophomore years. He experienced the electricity of being a member of a winning Alma Mater team in 2012.
When he was not selected as the program coordinator for Great Start, an event which allows commuter students to spend a weekend staying in the dorms in order to promote unity and involvement, friends prompted Calderin to “just do it” and chair HEC. After some consideration, that is exactly what he did.
Willy Herrera, Student Government Vice President, recognized Calderin’s commitment to student life.
“One thing that is special about Roly is his selflessness with his involvements,” Herrera said. “He always gives 110% to his involvement and is always willing to make a sacrifice for his team and for things to go well. I can honestly say he loves everything he does on this campus. He wouldn’t do it if he didn’t.”
Throughout the planning process, Calderin and the rest of the HEC had an array of responsibilities. They had to contact sponsors, design the event schedule, formulate guidelines for each competition, allocate funds and specify down to last detail how each committee’s activity would be carried out.
According to Calderin, the main obstacle they faced this year was the realization of the magnitude of pressure on them and the stare of the community eye.
However, Calderin didn’t let that stop him from giving his all.
“Roly Calderin epitomizes spirit and dedication,” said senior Jesus Melendez, ACS and Student Government member. “He’s led an incredible Homecoming staff and I’m so happy of the execution of my last Homecoming at the U.”
Calderin was adamant that praise be given to his vice chairs and the committee heads for their dedication and enthusiasm.
“Homecoming is the committee,” he said. “It is not me.”
One of the biggest decisions about Homecoming is collectively deciding on a theme. This year, the theme is “Animate Your Story.”
The choice behind the Pixar theme was carefully weighed. It first survived multiple rounds of cuts and landed a spot in the top three. Each theme was deliberated and then HEC determined which would remain through voting.
Once HEC gets down to three themes, committees are asked to incorporate these themes into their respective events. Pixar was the most fully embraced and developed theme.
According to multiple members of competing fraternities, sororities, and organizations, a big part of Homecoming Week at the U is seeing your organization rack up points and place events in order to showcase spirit levels.
While Calderin agrees that the competitions are a great way to represent the spirit of your organization and welcome competition, his greatest hope is that all students, particularly freshman and new students, don’t only think about coming out victorious. He wants students to realize the importance of tradition and togetherness at the University of Miami.
“We are all ‘Canes,” Calderin said. “We all bleed orange green.”
When asked about his favorite homecoming event, Calderin replied, “Oh definitely Alma Mater. I feel that it is something unique to UM.”
This year’s Alma Mater finals are being held Thursday morning on the Rock.
Calderin asserted that Homecoming is about tradition and pride. It is about friendship and creating memories.
Senior Daniel Diaz shares many memories with Calderin dating back to freshman year and the Great Start program.
“The number one thing that I will always respect about Roly is that he’s remained true to himself,” Diaz said. “What I value the most is the fact that he only takes on positions and roles that he is most passionate about. These positions bring the best out in people and it’s definitely brought the best out of Roly.”
Visit the UMHomecoming page on Facebook to stay in-the-know about upcoming events and check out the link to the point tracking website to stay updated about organization standings.