Every year homecoming undergoes changes as committee members come and go, but this year may prove to be the year with the most radical changes of them all.
According to fourth-year student Andrew Hodowanec, a member of the homecoming committee, “the most major change this year is the inclusion of a homecoming dance, which has not been done in five years.”
The dance’s return will be accompanied by a preplanned music selection, ranging from electronic dance music to pop rock.
Student opinions about the dance were tepid, but not negative. Will Oldham, a third-year student, said, “It doesn’t sound like a bad idea, it would just depend [on the timing]. Homecoming weekend is an incredibly program-heavy time of the year.”
Another major change coming this year is to nominations for Homecoming court. In the past students were nominated for Homecoming king or queen, but this year the position will be called homecoming royalty to make the nominations more gender inclusive.
Among the students interviewed, this change was very popular. “I love that!” said Mercedes Deschene, a fourth-year student. “Gender inclusivity is so important, and it really helps make a safe space for gender-nonconforming and transgender students.”
“I think that gender inclusivity is an issue that students continue to fight for and bring to the forefront,” said Oldham. “I’m sure there will be some skeptical looks or raised eyebrows, but being homecoming royalty means what it’s always meant, so I’m just happy to see people helping usher in actual change with those discussions.”
The main theme this year is the film series “Back to the Future,” specifically “Part II.” Aditi Chaudhri, a homecoming committee member, explained that “Part II” begins on Oct. 21, 2015, near the dates of this year’s Homecoming (Oct. 8-11, 2015).
To develop the theme a little more, the committee has considered naming the homecoming dance “Enchantment Under the Sea” after the dance that occurs in the first “Back to the Future,” although this plan has not been finalized. Other major aspects of this homecoming will be a parade with accompanying floats, the CWRU Showcase of Stars, which will be a showcase including campus groups like The Case Footlighters and Speakeasy, a 5-K run that honors Stephanie Tubbs and the Blue Block Party, which will occur at Toby’s Plaza.
A massive amount of marketing will also take place, from the creation and sale of sweatshirts, partnerships with fraternities and sororities to create banners to hang around several buildings and the inclusion of some charitable events, which include preparing breakfast bags for Ronald McDonald House and making bookmarks for either the Cleveland Clinic or Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
These changes are widespread, and their purpose is to create more spirit and enthusiasm for individual events and the weekend as a whole. If the Homecoming committee is successful, it’s likely that we will enjoy these events for many years to come.
Additional reporting by Ellie Rambo.