FEC takes first place in Homecoming Alma Mater finals

Federación de Estudiantes Cubanos (FEC) won the Homecoming Alma Mater finals for the third year in a row Thursday at The Rock, as United Black Students (UBS) finished behind them as runner-up.

FEC, UBS and the Association of Commuter Students made it past the preliminary rounds during the week and performed their renditions of Alma Mater and popular songs. Thanks to the win, FEC will sing the alma mater at Saturday’s homecoming football game.

FEC takes first place in this year's Homecoming Alma Mater competition. Giancarlo Falconi // Assistant Photo Editor
FEC takes first place in this year’s Homecoming Alma Mater competition. Giancarlo Falconi // Assistant Photo Editor

“It feels satisfying to know that all our hard work pays off,” Ashley Bahamonde, a sophomore in FEC said. “Our second year winning. We just thought of what is popular for us to use musically.”

Each team had to incorporate the music of a famous Miami-born artist that was pre-assigned to them by the Alma Mater chairs of the Homecoming Executive Committee (HEC). For the finals, all of the teams had to perform a rendition of The Weeknd’s, “Can’t Feel My Face.”

“It’s a very popular song that is happening right now, and we wanted the finals competition to be changed up a little bit and to see how versatile and adaptable each team can be,” Nigel Richardson, the co-chair of Alma Mater, said. “They were definitely up to the ask and they definitely displayed their UM spirit and creativity.”

Despite the three teams singing the same song, they all used their own lyrics.

“I thought it was great that despite being assigned the same song, they all provided differently, which gave judges a basis on how they pick their winners,” Elizabeth Bocanegra, the other co-chair, said.

Also performing was the Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) and Pi Kappa Phi (Pi Kapp) team. The team was HEC’s pick to perform during the finals; every year the committee chooses one additional team to perform in the finals, which automatically puts them in fourth place. Performing during the judges’ deliberation on who would win, they captivated campus with their voices.

“They were the fourth best team out of the eight contestants. They did very well to beat the others out in the preliminaries,” Bocanegra said.

FEC won with renditions of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and Jason Derulo’s “Want to Want Me.” It was FEC’s third win in a row since 2012, and not coincidentally, when FEC won Alma Mater in 2012 and 2013, they also won the overall Homecoming competition both times.

If this year’s competition follows the same pattern, it would spell bad news for UBS. Yet no one can count them out.

“Homecoming is not over yet, anything can happen,” Bahamonde said, acknowledging their challengers.

Due to their success in other competitions, UBS is still very much in the race. The Spirit Tree results were announced before Alma Mater start and UBS earned first place in the ornament-crafting event for their poignant representation of Virginia Key Beach. They also won Wednesday’s Storm Warning event, showing the most spirit and cheering the loudest during the inaugural event.

Additionally, points are sprinkled in by HEC for spirit and participation points during every event. They constantly keep track of which organizations have the most members in attendance and cheer the loudest.

There is just one final event that can settle the race once and for all: The Homecoming Parade. The winner will be announced at halftime of the Homecoming game against the University of Virginia Cavaliers. The winning organization will be the one who dazzled the judges the most with its float. Either FEC will get the three-peat, or UBS will stage an upset.

Correction Nov. 7, 2015: This article originally misspelled Bahamonde.