UConn’s annual Homecoming week has arrived and began with a “heroes and villains” themed parade and carnival on Sunday afternoon, bringing many student organizations such as greek life, clubs and residential halls together. Hosted by the Student Union Board of Governors, the parade began on Hillside Rd and finished on Gilbert Rd, right by the South Quad where the carnival was held. The parade was noticeably different this year due to the absence of floats and cultural centers.
Traditionally, each organization would build their own float for the parade that followed the year’s theme. This year’s floats were not allowed, so many organizations created banners that followed their theme instead, such as Alpha Epsilon Phi, Phi Gamma Delta and Tau Kappa Epsilon’s theme of “Monster’s Inc”, or Alpha Epsilon Pi, Phi Sigma Rho and Alpha Omicron Pi’s theme of “Finding Nemo”.
Controversy last spring over Chief Diversity Officer Joelle Murchison’s homecoming directive led cultural centers to either opt out of participating or participate under a different name. In response, many organizations decided to wear UConn apparel instead of their own apparel to represent a united front among all students. This plan ended up somewhat falling through, as many organizations did end up wearing their own apparel.
“A lot of events have been taken away, like there’s no lip sync or floats,” Meghan Smith said, a fifth semester fine arts major who is the homecoming chair for sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi. “I feel like there’s been an overall lack of participation from organizations.”
The parade marched from Hillside Road to Gilbert Road, where it finished with a high-energy performance from the Marching Band. Spectators watched and cheered as the band performed a collection of songs. Students, alumni, and families then gathered at the carnival which included food, games, music, rides and more.
“My favorite part of the day has been the carnival,” Smith said, “We haven’t really done something this big in the past.”
At the carnival, greek organizations had tents set up with various games and activities such as tie-dye, face painting and pie-in-the-face. Other traditional carnival games such as whack-a-mole were also available to play. Carnival rides such as mechanical swings and rock climbing were a hit. There was also food such as ice cream, fried dough and popcorn.
Students, alumni and all other spectators enjoyed the festivities. “The carnival was really fun,” Gabrielle Rago said, a third semester ACES pre-teaching major, “it’s always nice to have free food.”
The events, despite the controversy, were a pretty successful beginning to Homecoming. The parade and carnival provided a chance for all organizations to gather and celebrate UConn, as well as for students to take a break from the craziness of midterms and enjoy the fresh air. Upcoming events include the homecoming pageant and the football game. Homecoming certainly has changed, but the goal of uniting the UConn community remains the same.
“Homecoming really brings together all organizations as a community as well as all students,” Smith said.
Melissa Scrivani is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.