Hundreds of students gathered around Lake Osceola on Friday night, flashing their light sticks for the boat burning and fireworks that make up the annual Hurricane Howl.
This year’s Grand Marshal was Reggie Wayne, wide receiver for the University of Miami football team from 1997-2000. Before the event, 12 student organizations were given plywood to create their own versions of the Wynwood Walls for a new part of the Homecoming competition, the Hurricane Walls. The plywood walls were displayed next to the Homecoming Parade on Merrick Drive. According to Aalekhya Reddam, one of the chairs for the Homecoming Parade, the artwork was supposed to incorporate the artistic style found in the Wynwood District.
“We wanted to get the teams and the student body as a whole involved in as many Homecoming events as possible,” said Damian Brusko, one of the chairs for Howl. “We thought it would be a great way to let them showcase their creativity and incorporate elements of the university into the walls.”
Lauren Rodriguez, another chair for Howl, enjoyed the competitive aspect of her favorite event of Homecoming week.
“We have all been working hard to put on an incredible event for UM’s Homecoming this year,” Rodriguez said. “The walls were added in order to have a more Miami feel and to incorporate the University of Miami. This is was the theme For My City is all about.”
The boat burning tradition holds that the mast must sink before the boat for the Hurricanes to win the Homecoming football game, but the boat went down first this year. However, the Hurricanes bucked the tradition and still won on Saturday afternoon. The ensuing fireworks lasted about 15 minutes and were shot from both the lake and the top of the Donna E. Shalala Student Center.
Alumni who returned to their alma mater enjoyed the fireworks and the preservation of traditions during Homecoming. Alum Jesus Melendez recognized how energetic the atmosphere during Hurricane Howl is.
“The parade and Homecoming Howl events served as the perfect culmination of what I think of when I think of UM community and family,” Melendez said. “I continue to be amazed by the overwhelming love that is always a part of the UM community. Coming back to campus reminded me once more that no matter where I go, the university will always be a home for me and my fellow Hurricanes.”