Staff prepares for annual celebration

Contributed Photo
Last year’s parade theme ‘Boropalooza’ (pictured above), was a change for the parade. This year’s theme is ‘Rock the Boro.’
Homecoming ready to 'Rock The Boro'

By Britnee Ganster & Logan Lilly
Managing Editor & Editor-in-Chief/Spectator

Every year, hundreds of alumni flock back to the ‘Boro in order to celebrate Homecoming.

Homecoming is an event that includes everyone in the community, from students and faculty, to local business owners.

Behind the elaborate parade and crowded football game, there is a committee of university officials who work year-round to make sure these events run smoothly.

“Planning for homecoming is 9 months in the making,” Vice President Tina Mengine said.

“We work closely with all departments across campus in anticipation of the crowds, to plan and work out each detail.  It is particularly important that the facilities department is actively involved as well as police.”

According to Director for University Communications Jeff Hileman, safety is a “top consideration when any additions or changes to the lineup of events are discussed” and Interim Campus Police Chief Angela Vincent has been an active member of the Homecoming Committee for many years and is “well-versed in Homecoming policing needs.”

“(Vincent) and the university also work very closely with the borough police and other public safety organizations in the wider community to ensure the safety of students and our many guests,” Hileman said.

President Julie Wollman explained the university works with the borough manager to make sure the parade and other events do not interfere with the main roads and that emergency vehicles are able to access campus at all times.

In addition to planning and enforcing safety regulations, the homecoming committee also works to make sure there are plenty of parking spaces available to guests and that they have access to any services they may need.

However, homecoming is more than just a parade and football game. The weekend upholds dozens of traditions that the community take very seriously.

“Traditions are a very important part of homecoming-the parade, the football game, formal and informal reunions, alumni athletic competitions, the Alumni & Friends Golf Outing and other events carry on longstanding and much-loved Edinboro traditions,” Hileman said.

Last year, Homecoming was “rebranded” with “BoroPalooza.” This year, the theme is “Rock the Boro,” which will incorporate a number of concerts and performances on campus. There will be two local bands, including Mayflower Hill, who just won the 2014 Rock Erie Music Award, and an Elvis impersonator performing on the lawn by Cole Auditorium on Saturday after the parade.

Though the changes to homecoming were not well-received when they were announced last year, the committee is bringing a number of events from last year back for another Homecoming celebration and creating new traditions along the way.

According to President Wollman, there was a popular demand for the trebuchet pumpkin launch and the illumination ceremony which was moved to Friday night.

“There’s been an effort in the last two years to add activities that showcase the university today for the benefit of alumni, prospective students and the wider community,” Hileman said.

“Through these additions, inviting alumni back to reminisce about their days as students at Edinboro University, Edinboro State College or Edinboro State Teachers College connects them with our students and the University today as well as with their past.”

For the second year, the university is offering on campus overnight accommodations for out-of-town guests. For a small fee, visitors can stay in Dearborn Hall which currently doesn’t house any students.

“So far we have nearly 100 alumni staying on campus, nearly three times last year,” Mengine said.

This year, homecoming weekend is also parents and families weekend so everyone can enjoy the festivities.

“On campus, we have lots of open space and we are delighted to welcome all of the visitors to the many Homecoming venues! This is a very special weekend; the more the merrier!” Wollman said.

Wollman, Hileman and Mengine are all looking forward to a successful Homecoming Weekend filled with old and new traditions.

The only thing the trio is worried about is the weather.

“It can rain all day Sunday,” Wollman said. “Friday and Saturday are off limits, Mother Nature!”

Britnee Ganster is managing editor for The Spectator, and Logan Lilly is editor in chief for The Spectator. They can be reached by eupnews.spectator@gmail.com