Painted displays span across the Davies Student Center windows and games and events occupy spaces on upper and lower campus: it’s Homecoming 2019 for UW-Eau Claire.
Joann Martin, the University Activities Commission advisor and the coordinator for student activities, said UAC’s Festivals Committee is in charge of helping prepare for Springfest and Winter Carnival along with Homecoming, but that Homecoming is their biggest event.
“(UAC’s Festivals Committee) very much has a big hand in every single Homecoming event,” Martin said.
From creating the events to hosting informational meetings, Martin said UAC’s Festivals Committee has been preparing for this Homecoming week by getting the word out about events in hopes that individuals and student groups will participate in the activities.
Homecoming traditions like Varsity Night Live at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 and the parade at 10 a.m. on Oct. 12 will still take place this year, but Martin said UAC is also bringing back a previous tradition along with new activities.
“Last year we didn’t have the royalty campaign and competition aspect and the atmosphere of Homecoming shifted,” Martin said. “We got a lot of feedback that people wanted that again because it brings an element of fun and everyone likes healthy competition, so we brought that back (this year).”
Martin also said UAC planned and created events with the goal of not overwhelming students with all of the activities that will be occurring on campus.
“We’re trying to find a good balance between not too much, … while still keeping part of Homecoming as we’ve done it in the past,” Martin said. “In years past, we’ve had games every single night of Homecoming week, … (so) we only have it on one day (this year) because students are busy … We have learned so we’re trying to be more mindful of students’ time.”
Laser tag, which will be taking place at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 in Towers field, is one of the new activities UAC is incorporating into this year’s Homecoming, Martin said.
Retta Isaacson, a third-year geology student, is a committee chair for UAC’s Festivals Committee and she said some of the other games UAC is introducing to Homecoming week this year include a water balloon toss, scooter races, tug-a-war and back pictionary.
Isaacson said she and others from the Festivals Committee have been mostly gathering judges for different Homecoming events and helping lead the Homecoming informational sessions.
According to Isaacson, a lot of first-year students are the presidents and vice presidents of their residence halls, so the informational meetings also give the Festivals Committee an opportunity to explain what Homecoming is to those students.
As a Blugold alumna herself, Martin said students should not feel obligated to participate in every single Homecoming event, but should just have fun with the activities they want to pursue.
“When I was a first-year student here, I thought, ‘Oh if I’m not participating with the group or supporting a royalty candidate, … it’s not for me,’ and that’s not the truth,” Martin said. “You can come to anything as just an individual and participate and it’s a ball of fun. We have a wide variety of events too, so if something doesn’t catch your fancy, that’s okay.”
For more information on Homecoming events and activities, go to https://www.uwec.edu/university-activities-commission/festivals/homecoming/.
Van Sistine can be reached at [email protected].