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February 5, 2001

Homecoming gears up

By Eric Rangus

Homecoming, for the most part, is a student-centered activity. At many universities, primarily those with football teams, RVs filled with alumni also descend on the campus of their youth for a week’s worth—or at least a weekend’s worth—of fun remembering the pre-responsibility glory days of college.

For a school without a football team, as well as student body with a reputation as spirit challenged, Homecoming arrives each year with its own set of built-in obstacles.

“Our campus isn’t really known to be spirited,” said Mitali Chakraborty, Student Programming Council (SPC) Homecoming chair. “Sometimes we have to shake people up.”

So, all Homecoming week, which begins today and runs through Feb. 10, SPC members will tool around campus on a Facilities Management golf cart handing out prizes.

This year’s Homecoming theme is Emory Gras 2001, and if the SPC golf cart spots any students, faculty or staff members wearing Emory colors or any other university clothing, the celebrant will receive free t-shirts, beads or other prizes.

SPC has sponsored Homecoming for the past eight years, and this year, Chakraborty said, the council is actively reaching out to include faculty and staff in the celebration.

“We will always send out invitations [to faculty and staff], but there hasn’t always been a good response,” Chakraborty said. “Generally we do not see faculty participate. We’re trying to encourage more faculty members to take part.”

Most staffers, with the exception of Campus Life and Residence Life personnel, have also historically taken a pass at Homecoming time. Attending activities isn’t difficult. Faculty, staff and students get in free to all Homecoming events by showing their Emory IDs.

Some of this year’s activities have been planned with an eye toward a diverse crowd. Come-dian Lewis Black, who appears on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, will perform Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium.

“He should appeal to an older crowd,” Chakraborty said of the wry, political comedian.

The schedule has a serious side as well. On Feb. 7, SPC is cosponsoring the panel discussion, “Reconciling Race: The Future of American Race Relations,” featuring Harvard professor Cornel West, DePaul professor Michael Eric Tyson, author and former head of the Black Panther Party Elaine Brown, and civil rights activist and California state Sen. Tom Hayden.

On Thursday, Feb. 8, SPC and Volunteer Emory will sponsor a clothing drive and sign Valentine’s Day cards for children at Egleston.

While some of the midweek activities lend an air of reality to the proceedings, Homecoming’s opening event is a little looser. Tonight at 7 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium, 10 male and 10 female students will compete for the titles of Mr. and Ms. Emory. While the moniker screams beauty pageant, the event is actually based on personal interview, a talent competition and a student body vote.

The week reaches its peak with the Homecoming parade Friday afternoon, which will ring the campus and end at the P.E. Center, where a tailgate party will precede a women’s/men’s basketball double-header with Brandeis at 6 p.m.

The final event—the semi-formal Homecoming Ball—will be held on campus for the first time, which not only saves some money but might boost attendance. “This is one of the few opportunities the whole University can get together at one time,” Chakraborty said.

The hope is the event, which normally draws about 700–800, will attract about 1,000. Hip-hop group Naughty by Nature will perform.

SPC’s efforts to increase interest in Homecoming have already shown some success. More than two weeks before the parade, Chakraborty said, the number of floats participating (13) was already higher than last year (eight).


Back to Emory Report Feb. 5, 2001