Often, it’s described as the best week of the year on southeastern’s campus. Homecoming week is a week jammed pack of events and celebration of lion pride. Senior communication major Allison Davis said, “I love Homecoming because it unites everyone on campus. We all come together to celebrate a southeastern tradition. When the game rolls around, you can see the true lion pride throughout the stands, and it is such an amazing thing to witness”. This year southeastern’s homecoming week was planned for Oct 1 through Oct 7. Homecoming week is a university wide commitment but the student activity side of it is sponsored by the Student Government Association. There is a lot of work put into planning and executing this busy week. The Student Government Association has a big committee that starts the planning all the way in July, led by the SGA President, Seth Leto, and Director of Traditions, Hannah Fork. Another person who plays a key part in planning and putting on homecoming week is the homecoming coordinator, Summer Carter. Carter described what it was like being Homecoming Coordinator, “Being homecoming coordinator was the most stressful yet rewarding positions I have ever held. I loved giving people a reason to get involved on campus. Southeastern has so much to offer its students and I loved being a part of making students see that.”
Each day consisted of a list of events for Southeastern students to attend. Sunday there was campus decorating and the kickball game. Monday was the homecoming kick off which had food and games for the students. There were also the free homecoming t-shirts and cozies given out for the students. Monday also had the Black Family Reunion, which is an event where the National Pan-Hellenic fraternities and sororities showcase their organizations and do a role reversal stroll which each other. Tuesday was a busy one where students celebrated “Lion Up Tuesday” as well as had the chance to donate blood. Tuesday brought a brand-new competition called “Can You Build It”, in this competition teams had to bring can good and nonperishable food and build a sculpture out of it based on their theme. After judging all of the food went to the Southeastern Food Pantry, this food could feed hundreds of students on southeastern’s campus. Tuesday also had the give back night at La Carretas. Anyone who ate their and said they were southeastern’s homecoming had part of their bill go to the southeastern’s Alumni Foundation. Lastly, students could end the night in the Student Union Theatre watching the student voted movie, Lion King. Moving on to Wednesday students had the tradition event, Gumbo YaYa put on by the Campus Activities Board. Students are able to get free gumbo as well as play games and watch the homecoming court be presented. Wednesday night is the “Minute-To-Win-It” competition where teams play 60 second challenges for points. Thursday had the highly anticipated “Lip Sync” competition as well as the bonfire/“Roar Like a Lion” chant competition. At the bonfire/chant competition southeastern’s spirit groups play and then the teams yell their chants that they made for the competition. After, they all head to the University Center for Lip Sync. The teams compete in song and dance competition where they are judge on style/appearance, choreography, overall performance, creativity, and theme.
Teams put weeks of worth into preparing for all of the homecoming week events. Other parts of homecoming include the “Sheet Sign” competition where teams take a standard size twin bed sheet and paint a design that reflects their teams theme. The Student Government Association also partners with the Hammond’s Chamber of Commerce in getting local businesses to let students decorate their business for the “Downtown Decorating” competition. Lastly, the teams and organizations also decorate floats for the homecoming parade that is also judge for points. At the homecoming game after the court is presented and the homecoming King and Queen are crowned they announce the final homecoming week results. Here “Downtown Decorating”, “Sheet Sign”, “Parade Floats” competition winners are announced, and the overall third, second, and first place winners are announced.
Director of Traditions, Hannah Fork, on what it was like to be on the planning side of homecoming as a student she said, “Being able to plan events for the students to enjoy and really get into school spirit was the best part but yes it was, a lot more went into it than I expected and the communication aspect between my committee was more difficult than I expected.” Fork, Carter, and Leto had been planning and working on things since early July. This included working on the rules packet given to all teams and organizations participating in homecoming week, going through the Student Government Association Senate to get funding for everything for the week, and much more. This year the homecoming bill was $14,500. They also had to get judges and work with a committee of students which Fork said was harder the expected because communication was not always the best. Leto, Fork, and Carter all three said that was the thing that they wish they could have done better was communicate with the committee better. Leto went on to say that if he could go back and do something different it would be to get more accomplished. The team said they all put in a lot of late nights working to put on everything for students of Southeastern. It was a rewarding experience as Carter said, “Being Homecoming coordinator has just proven to me that Southeastern has become my family and is my home”. Like Davis said in the beginning homecoming week unites everyone at Southeastern.
This week concludes with the homecoming game in Strawberry Stadium. Saturday the Southeastern Lions would be facing Incarnate Word but due to Hurricane Nate the homecoming game and homecoming activities has been pushed back to Oct. 28th. The Southeastern Lions will now take on Sam Houston State for the homecoming game. Come out and watch the Southeastern Lions and see who get crowned Homecoming King and Queen and who gets bragging rights for winning homecoming week overall Oct 28th at 7 p.m. For more information on homecoming go to southeastern.edu/homecoming.