Saturday’s homecoming festivities brought together alumni and students for a day filled with school spirit and family fun. Alumni, their children, the community and students all came out to celebrate Edinboro University.
This year, Edinboro offered three different types of divisions for floats: walking, small floats and large floats. According to David Goodwill, coordinator of camps, programs and recreation, “this year we have traditional floats, small floats, which is something you can build in the back of a pick up or make a convertible out of and also themed walking units.”
“The idea behind that is we would get more people involved because not everybody wanted to commit two weeks to building a traditional size float; there are limitations on where people can build them, they are costly and we have a budget we have to remain within. So that’s why we added three categories.”
The community lined the streets and the parade had many acts. One float’s theme was the Muppets, another float sang the Village People’s “YMCA” and one float had a full forest. Others featured included marching bands with dancers, campus media, university players, Greek life, local elementary and high schools and many other school and non-school groups, including one from Philadelphia. One of the floats had a man dancing and riling up the crowd to come dance with him, getting the spectators involved.
“It has worked probably as good as to be expected for the first year, we have a max on our 10 traditional floats, three themed walking units and three small floats, so looking at it from the standpoint of last year we are probably up six judged entries,” Goodwill said.
“We also have over 30 groups that are participating in the parade. I don’t necessarily know if we’re doing anything different than last year [other] than making more variety for people, but we’ve had good student participation,” Goodwill said.
Dr. Amy Franklin-Craft, director of Residence Life and Housing and part of the homecoming committee, talked about how the homecoming committee changed the parade for the better to try to get more student involvement and participation.
“The parade typically has a lot of floats. This year we are doing things a little bit differently in that last year was my first year at Edinboro and one of my observations was that not too many students participated in homecoming. The floats were the big, real floats, professionally done,” Franklin-Craft said.
“I am on the committee [and] when I went to the committee meetings, we were talking about where people assemble, and you have to go off-site to do it, and that’s not very student friendly. It works for alumni, and some organizations, but certainly doesn’t work for the residence halls.”
The committee added the three float divisions, so the students could work on campus, making their floats while interacting and bonding with other students.
“I wanted each of the homes to participate. I stopped short of a mandate, where you have to participate, but I think a lot of them followed through and got involved. We have an RHA float for the residence halls and at least three residential floats. The idea of homecoming being just about ‘Keggs and Eggs’ and games, that doesn’t really work right,” Franklin-Craft said.
Franklin-Craft also talked about student involvement at Edinboro. Last year was her first year at the school and she noticed that student involvement in regard to school spirit and games was minimal. Getting students involved with homecoming was a way she believed to bring about school spirit.
“We started the process this year during the first football game of encouraging students to go to the games. I don’t know that it’s latched on in a great way, but I know there has been a lot more student participation in the residence halls. I am seeing a lot of posters developed celebrating the football players, the cheerleaders, the band, those types of things, so it builds camaraderie. That’s what it’s all about; you have to get connected to your institution,” Franklin-Craft said.
“You need to start feeling like October is this magical time when you actually like the cold weather.”
“I can remember when I was an undergrad, I was Humpty Dumpty one year and the back of the pick up truck was a wall and I made a big old costume. The theme that year was great books, so you can do some really fun things,” Franklin-Craft said.
“I just hope students enjoy it, we know the alumni enjoy it. Homecoming is about the alumni [and] it’s about the students, as well, but I think students need to be thriving to be part of that alumni,” Goodwill said.
“They get through and graduate, so they can come back and enjoy the festivities from the other side of it. It think it’s just a great thing to be bringing alumni and current students together for one day to celebrate the university and being a member of this institution.”
Anna Ashcraft is The Arts Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at email@example.com.