Freshman: ‘This is my first bonfire and I expect it to be lit’

Addison Semer, mass communication senior, and Leah Lychock, exercise physiology senior, light the homecoming bonfire Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson

The Office of Student Development and Orientation faculty members organized the bonfire on Oct. 19 as part of homecoming week. Under this, students donated a shirt of another college that was burned. Mario Ramirez, interim director of student involvement, said not all the shirts donated were burned.

Andrew Norwood, special education junior, was one of the students that donated a college shirt.

“I brought a Texas Tech shirt,” Norwood said. “I’m not a big Texas Tech fan. It was pretty cool to put the shirt in there and being able to support the bonfire and MSU.”

Ramirez further explained the explanation of why the college shirts are burned during the bonfire. This practice is related to MSU sports.

“I believe the shirts are burned because it symbolizes the teams that MSU sports defeat throughout the year,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez said that the bonfire started in 1985 and it dates back to the MSU basketball team, originally in the spring semester.

“The bonfire and torch parade began about 1985,” Ramirez said. “It was started as a prep rally for the basketball team in the spring semester. Eventually, it moved to the fall. It represents the spirit of MSU.”

Ruby Arriaga, coordinator of student activities, explained that the reason the bonfire and torchlight parade were moved from the spring semester to the fall semester was because of the reemergence of the football team.

“Football was not here because of the depression,” Arriaga said. “MSU was not allowed to have a football team because they didn’t have enough money for it. I actually got all this information from The Wichitan.”

The night started out with the torchlight parade, where students were given torches as they navigated to parking lot six south.

“It was really cool to see all the torches being lit up and everybody coming together to support that,” Norwood said. “It was great to see the MSU community be able to do that together.”

Arriaga said the torchlight parade symbolize students passing the spirit of MSU to others while the bonfire represents the students being united by the spirit of MSU.

“They wanted the spirit of MSU be passed around,” Arriaga said. “This includes passing the flames to the next. And that’s exactly what we did yesterday. Give it to one and they pass it on. Everyone got to get a torch. When they light the bonfire up, that is the pride and the spirit of MSU bringing everyone together.”

Given that students are expos to a lot of fire during the bonfire and torchlight parade, Derrick Bowers, station six firefighter, said he was concerned with the wind. However, he was confident that the bonfire and torchlight parade would be safe.

“Right now, the wind is going to be a major issue, but other than that it seems like it will be pretty safe,” Bowers said. “It is pretty contained. There’s nothing around here that should affect the fire too much so we can pretty much contain it for the most part. So we never had any issues with the past bonfires.”

Arriaga said that the weather —primarily rain, heavy winds and extreme heat — is the biggest concern when organizing the bonfire.

“If it rains, that kind of ruins the plans,” Arriaga said. “If it’s super windy, that’s kind of dangerous too because of the flames and ashes. If it’s really hot, that’s also very dangerous. So the weather is a huge thing.”

Another concern Arriaga addressed included the need for security for student safety.

“This is the first time that many students are holding fire,” Arriaga said. “So we always have to keep that in mind.”

Bowers also said students must stay a safe distance from the bonfire as well as other flames during the night.

“Overall, just make sure you use your head,” Bowers said. “If you feel like it’s hot, stay back. That’s all you need to worry about. We’ll handle the rest.”

The student athletes were onstage throwing shirts at the crowd.

“I would say this bonfire was way more fun and energetic,” Ellie Gunderson, political science junior and volleyball player, said. “My favorite part was being able to go onstage and see everyone yelling in the crowd.”

Students who support MSU sports said this bonfire had a larger attendance than the last one.

“It was actually a lot bigger and I believed there was more of a showing of a crowd this year,” Norwood said.  “I am glad to see all the fans out and supporting MSU and MSU football.”

The second event was the lip sync finals between the fire time participants, Alpha Psi Omega, last year’s runners up, the cheerleaders, and the 2016 defending champions, Caribbean Student Organization.

“The cheerleaders were a lot of fun to watch,” Georgia DuBose, biology senior, said. “I really loved the ’90s music. The one song that we were dancing to was ‘Jump.'”

Many students were wowed by the creativity of the Alpha Psi Omega, who were performing intros of popular ’90s shows such as “Hey Arnold,” “Rugrats,” “The Nanny,” and “Full House.”

“I thought it was really neat when they were changing as they went,” Faith Muñoz, English senior, said. “I heard a lot of songs from my childhood so it was really fun.”

Despite the performances of Alpha Psi Omega and the cheerleaders, students said their favorite performance was from the Caribbean Student Organization.

“Honestly, they were way more in tune with what’s going on than the rest,” Imran Kurani, biology sophomore, said. “I love the other organization, but the CSO got it going on.”

There were also many freshmen who were excited for attending their first bonfire.

“This is my first bonfire and I expect it to be lit,” Savannah Rodriguez, biology freshman, said.

Conney Vargas, marketing senior, said her first bonfire as a freshman was chaotic compared to this one.

“My first bonfire was nice I guess,” Vargas said. “But when it came to receiving the torches, it was very crowded. There was a lot of pushing and I’m a smaller person so I was pushed around a lot.”

She said this year’s bonfire was more organized than the previous bonfires she’s attended, despite having a larger attendance.

“There’s a lot more people,” Vargas said. “It seems to be better organized when it came to like getting your torches and where we walked and stuff like that.”

Some students said the bonfire was their favorite event in the homecoming week.

“The bonfire is really fun,” Andrew Sober, criminal justice sophomore, said. “And the football game on Saturday will be very fun too.”

Vargas said that this is the only aspect of homecoming that she really enjoys since it feels like a genuine homecoming event.

“I feel like this is the only actual homecoming event that we have,” Vargas said. “Everyone comes to it. It’s very well put together. Everyone knows about it. It’s the only homecoming event that everyone wants to do.”

Ramirez said the reason students enjoyed the bonfire because of the pep rally atmosphere and unique experience compared to other homecoming events.

“It is a very unique experience,” Ramirez said. “Students enjoy the pep rally style atmosphere.”

Arriaga echoed Ramirez’s comments.

“Students have a chance to hold a flame,” Arriaga said. “Walk in the parade, cheer with the MSU cheerleaders, dance with the band, be with their friends and socialize. It’s more of a community field and that is why they like it.”

Despite many students claiming this year’s bonfire as larger than the previous ones, Arriaga said that the bonfires are organized the same way every year.

“We have the same bonfire pallets everywhere,” Arriaga said. “We never make it bigger or smaller. It’s the same exact size.”

Arriaga said she is also interested in the possibility of expanding the bonfire; however, she has not been informed on the possibilities of expansion.

“We can always make it bigger, like the festivities. That’s something the homecoming committee can decide on. There’s always room for improvement,” Arriaga said.

Tanner Conley, economics junior, said he is looking forward to the next bonfire and homecoming next year.

“Next year will be my senior year so I have to do it,” Conley said. “It will be an awesome way to end my college career.”

Joshua Luffman, psychology sophomore, and Courtney Lawrence, dental hygiene sophomore, share a kiss during the pep rally and bonfire at Nocona Trail South Lot, Oct. 19. Photo by Francisco Martinez

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Trey Honea, Criminal Justice Sophmore, ends the torch light parade by blowing out his torch as he and his friends make their way towards the bonfire, Thursday, Oct 19,2017. Photo by Sara Keeling
Trey Honea, Criminal Justice Sophmore, ends the torch light parade by blowing out his torch as he and his friends make their way towards the bonfire, Thursday, Oct 19,2017. Photo by Sara Keeling
Keelie Ralston, kinesiology junior, and Alicia Mayhugh, kinesiology junior, get ready to start the torchlight parade at MSU on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Harlie David
Keelie Ralston, kinesiology junior, and Alicia Mayhugh, kinesiology junior, get ready to start the torchlight parade at MSU on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Harlie David
Autumn Duval, early childhood education freshman, enjoys the torchlight parade at MSU on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Harlie David
Autumn Duval, early childhood education freshman, enjoys the torchlight parade at MSU on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Harlie David
Anthony Onwuegbuchu, mechinical enginering junior , at the homecoming torch light parade, Thurday , Oct 19,2017. Photo by Sara Keeling
Anthony Onwuegbuchu, mechinical enginering junior , at the homecoming torch light parade, Thurday , Oct 19,2017. Photo by Sara Keeling
Scydayah Quest, sociology junior, and Denaijah Shaw, athletic training junior at the torch lighting. Oct. 19, 2017. Elias Maki
Scydayah Quest, sociology junior, and Denaijah Shaw, athletic training junior at the torch lighting. Oct. 19, 2017. Elias Maki
Keanna Jenkins, buisiness freshman, and Isaac Liguez, dental hygiene freshman at the torch lighting. 19th October 2017. Photo by Elias Maki
Keanna Jenkins, buisiness freshman, and Isaac Liguez, dental hygiene freshman at the torch lighting. 19th October 2017. Photo by Elias Maki
Conney Vargas, marketing senior, holds her hand infront of the flame as she walks towards to front of the parade being one of the first to get her torch lit at the Torchlight Parade tradition apart of MSU Homecoming, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Conney Vargas, marketing senior, holds her hand infront of the flame as she walks towards to front of the parade being one of the first to get her torch lit at the Torchlight Parade tradition apart of MSU Homecoming, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Joshua Luffman, psychology sophomore, and Courtney Lawrence, dental hygiene sophomore, walk in the torch parade. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Joshua Luffman, psychology sophomore, and Courtney Lawrence, dental hygiene sophomore, walk in the torch parade. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Kimrie Brock, junior, and Kaitlynn Briant, nursing sophomore at the bonfire. 19th October 2017. Elias Maki
Kimrie Brock, junior, and Kaitlynn Briant, nursing sophomore at the bonfire. 19th October 2017. Elias Maki
Matt Graham, sophomore in mechanical engineering, and Lia Wiley, radiology sophomore, walk in the torchlight parade. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Matt Graham, sophomore in mechanical engineering, and Lia Wiley, radiology sophomore, walk in the torchlight parade. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Bill Maskill, MSU head football coach, walks through the crowd with a tiki torch to begin the MSU Bonfire, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Bill Maskill, MSU head football coach, walks through the crowd with a tiki torch to begin the MSU Bonfire, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Addison Semer, mass communication senior, and Leah Lychock, exercise physiology senior, light the homecoming bonfire Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Addison Semer, mass communication senior, and Leah Lychock, exercise physiology senior, light the homecoming bonfire Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Head Volleyball Coach Natalie Burton lights the Homecoming Bonfire Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johsnon
Head Volleyball Coach Natalie Burton lights the Homecoming Bonfire Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johsnon
Mario Ramirez, interim director of student involvement, at the homecoming bonfire Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Mario Ramirez, interim director of student involvement, at the homecoming bonfire Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Joshua Luffman, psychology sophomore, and Courtney Lawrence, dental hygiene, share a kiss during the MSU Pep Rally & Bonfire at Nocona Trail South Lot, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Joshua Luffman, psychology sophomore, and Courtney Lawrence, dental hygiene, share a kiss during the MSU Pep Rally & Bonfire at Nocona Trail South Lot, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Head football coach Bill Maskill lights the bonfire on Oct. 27. Photo by Izziel Latour
Head football coach Bill Maskill lights the bonfire on Oct. 27. Photo by Izziel Latour
Joey McGinn, Jacob Turnbow and Seth Angelino at the homecoming bonfire Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Joey McGinn, Jacob Turnbow and Seth Angelino at the homecoming bonfire Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Bradley Wilson
John Smith, psychology junior, gets a picture of the Homecoming Bonfire Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
John Smith, psychology junior, gets a picture of the Homecoming Bonfire Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Alexis Rucker, criminal justice sophomore, takes a picture her friends at the Homecoming Bonfire, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Alexis Rucker, criminal justice sophomore, takes a picture her friends at the Homecoming Bonfire, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Cameron O'Neal, pre-med sophomore, gets a picture of the Homecoming Bonfire Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Cameron O'Neal, pre-med sophomore, gets a picture of the Homecoming Bonfire Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Nicole Buchanan, resident assistant, and Shelby Emerson, education senior, enjoy the bonfire hosted by MSU during homecoming week at the student parking lot on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Harlie David
Nicole Buchanan, resident assistant, and Shelby Emerson, education senior, enjoy the bonfire hosted by MSU during homecoming week at the student parking lot on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Harlie David
Malaeni Ramos, biology senior, Francisco Ramos Armas, biology senior, and Shanice Roberts, biology senior, shield themself from the heat of the Homecoming Bonfire, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Malaeni Ramos, biology senior, Francisco Ramos Armas, biology senior, and Shanice Roberts, biology senior, shield themself from the heat of the Homecoming Bonfire, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Cameron O'Neal, pre-med sophomore, and Ben Williamson, non-student, enjoy the bonfire at MSU in the student parking lot on Thursday, Oct.19, 2017. Photo by Harlie David
Cameron O'Neal, pre-med sophomore, and Ben Williamson, non-student, enjoy the bonfire at MSU in the student parking lot on Thursday, Oct.19, 2017. Photo by Harlie David
Carley Bronaugh, psychology freshman, and Jaydon Johnston, math junior, dance together as the Homecoming Bonfire burns in the background and music plays from the stage, Thursday Oct. 19, 2017. "We've been together for a year and a half. [The Bonfire] I though was really cool, it's both of our first time and it was really awesome," Bronaugh said. Photo by Rachel Johsnon
Carley Bronaugh, psychology freshman, and Jaydon Johnston, math junior, dance together as the Homecoming Bonfire burns in the background and music plays from the stage, Thursday Oct. 19, 2017. "We've been together for a year and a half. [The Bonfire] I though was really cool, it's both of our first time and it was really awesome," Bronaugh said. Photo by Rachel Johsnon
Thursday, Oct 19, 2017 , Homecoming bonfire. Photo by Sara Keeling
Thursday, Oct 19, 2017 , Homecoming bonfire. Photo by Sara Keeling