Homecoming parade to be held Friday

Luke Allen, 2017 spring graduate in political science, Maria Pena, political science senior, and Jacob Warren, economics junior, follow behind other students holding the sign for the Organization of Hispanic Students in the 2016 homecoming parade. File photo by Izziel Latour

Loud music roars through campus. The mighty stomps of marching band members boom throughout the halls. Community members, students and families stand on the floats they spent hours making. The cavalry is here.

This is what is to come Oct. 20 when the Student Involvement Office hosts this year’s homecoming parade, a part of this year’s homecoming week, a week filled with festivities geared toward bettering the campus’ sense of community and school spirit, starting in the Akin parking lot at 4 p.m.

And the tradition, originally hosted in the spring semester, has a rich history.

“We always had homecoming in the spring, it was America’s Greatest College Week,” Ruby Arriaga, coordinator of student activities, said. “It was also a time when they invited alumni back, that is what the term ‘homecoming’ referred to. However, when football came back, I believe in the 80s, it switched from spring to the fall.”

Arriaga said all organizations should take part in the parade.

“It is for everyone who wants to do it,” Arriaga said, noting that organization leaders have to turn in their parade entry sketch by 5 p.m. on Oct. 19.

The homecoming parade is an opportunity for students and community members to share their creativity.

“It is awesome to be an administrator in charge of the homecoming parade,” Arriaga said. “It is great and really fun. I like being a part of and coordinating the event. It is fun seeing all of the students being creative with their designs and ideas.”

Around 25 organizations are signed up to create a float for the parade. Of those 25 organizations, 10-15 of them are student-lead organizations, while the rest consist of city, non-profit organizations and off-campus entities.

Residence Hall Association members on the Haunted Housing float during the homecoming parade competition on Oct. 31, 2015. File photo by Kayla White

Historically, the parade was held on Saturday morning. Recently, however, the parade was rescheduled to Friday afternoon to get more students to attend the event. This is the second year the parade has been held on a Friday and there has been an increase in the number of students attending the event, according to Mario Ramirez, interim director for student involvement.

Ramirez said, “We have seen way bigger crowds this last year than we have in the past. When it was on a Saturday, we did have people in attendance, though there were around 30-40 people. Last year, we saw that there were people all around the parade route.”

Jesse Brown, coordinator of student organizations and leadership programs, said he aims to further the tradition with the other leaders involved with hosting the parade

“It is an honor to be involved in this tradition here on campus and be able to move that tradition forward in a positive way,” Brown said. “It is a time where we, as an MSU family, can come together and celebrate unity and our culture here on campus. Parades throughout history, especially in the United States, are events where you come out and support your community. And that is what MSU is doing here.”

With the heightened sense of school spirit, Brown said he hopes that the parade will motivate the football players.

“Hopefully the parade sets the tone that we are going to go out on the football field and win,” Brown said.

Lauren Gardener, pre-med biology sophomore, said she thinks the parade will affect the upcoming football game.

“It helps get the school more geared up for the game, and if the fans are more geared up for the game, it makes the team play better,” Gardner said. “Hopefully we can pull out a win for the game against West Texas A&M.”

Students involved in other campus organizations said they are eager to participate in the event.

Sydney Jongewaard, president of Gamma Phi Beta, said, “As a student, it is a great way to be a part of such a big event and as an organization, it gives us the sense of unity with the rest of the students. It teaches us to work together and reminds us that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.”

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