Homecoming planners see hard work come to life
Sports, culture, spirit and celebration are the kinds of things that come to mind when one thinks of homecoming.
Homecoming is a special tradition at many colleges and universities throughout the U.S., and Shippensburg University is no different.“Homecoming is a way for alumni to return to visit with friends and former faculty members, and to catch up on all the changes in the university since they left,” said Peter Gigliotti, SU’s executive director for university communications and marketing.
Students, staff, faculty and alumni come together to have a good time, but a lot of work goes into making the event happen.
This year’s homecoming included Battle of the Campus, Lip Sync, Spirit Rally and the big football game on Saturday (see page E4).
According to Samantha Stambaugh, executive chairperson of the SU Homecoming Committee, planning began as early as January 2013.
Planning continued throughout the summer, leading to a three-day retreat at which the committee finalized details.
“We had weekly meetings and general member meetings every other week,” Stambaugh said.
“We had to make sure everything was prepared for down to the last detail — like prizes, times and staffing.”
According to Ashley White, adviser for the committee and assistant director for student group services and leadership development, the committee plans everything students see.
That includes choosing the theme for the year, deciding what events to hold, what promotional items to order, what the logo will be and more.
“Homecoming is important because it is a time to celebrate SU. It is a time for students, faculty and staff to support our teams, our programs, and the campus as a whole,” White said.
Tyler Graham worked as the campus outreach chair for the homecoming committee this year. He worked to get faculty and various departments across campus to come out and get involved in homecoming.
“I was also tasked with finding judges for the homecoming competitions which were also pulled from faculty around campus,” Graham said.
“We really just wanted the departments and faculty to get into and participate in homecoming more and to show more school spirit.”
Homecoming at SU has evolved and become a huge event that goes beyond the premises of campus.
“I think one interesting aspect is that the homecoming committee in recent years has raised money for various charitable organizations. This year, it is the MS Society of Central Pennsylvania,” Gigliotti said. “Also, the alumni work at the local food bank so homecoming has also become a way to offer support and service to the community.”
According to Stambaugh, $9,599.06 was raised for the MS Society through SU’s Homecoming.
“It was great seeing the overwhelming responses to the fundraising efforts of our committee members as well as the homecoming court,” Graham said.
SU Alumni, the homecoming committee, faculty and administration work hard for months to see the event finally come together on campus.
“It was such a busy and crazy week but I thought it was awesome to see how much everybody enjoyed everything and how much fun I even had doing it,” said Heather Schmuck, assistant to the chair of the homecoming committee.
“It feels awesome when you plan an event that the entire campus loves and praises you for. I also think that homecoming is an important part of college because it brings everyone at Ship, including students, staff and alumni, together,” Stambaugh said.
Planning for next year’s homecoming will begin January 2014. Current members of the homecoming committee will hold their respective positions until then.