WIU’s Homecoming theme this year is Cirque du Western: The Carnival Never Ends, and only how I wish it never would. Planning for Homecoming week is nearly a year-long process. Since last March, Homecoming co-chair Shannon Sniegolski, as well as the entire Homecoming committee, has been preparing for this one, fun-filled week-long event.
The student Homecoming committee is in charge of supervising all things homecoming. “We supervise all the chairs, do all the publicity, and answer all questions that arise,” Sniegolski said. “We make sure planning gets done on time. Basically, it’s about ten hours of work a week specifically devoted to Homecoming.”
Within those ten weekly hours dedicated to Homecoming, this year’s unique theme was chosen. Every year, when the Homecoming committee conducts their meeting to decide a theme, the committee brings a list of prior themes done in years past in order to avoid repeating a theme. When it came to this year’s theme, the students’ interests helped lead the way. “This year in particular,” Sniegolski began, “we have music major on our committee, and she is very into Cirque du Soleil, so we tried to match that idea as best we could without crossing over into any [copyright infringements]. Then we threw in the tagline, [Western: The Carnival Never Ends], to make the Western connection,” she said.
Nearly 600 students participate in homecoming events, including performing and painting, Sniegolski said. More than 2,000 students have already attended the large events so far this week, including the Boat Regatta, Variety Show, and Yell Like Hell. And only more students can be expected to attend Homecoming activities by the end of the weekend.
One of the first Homecoming events this year was the Boat Regatta on Sunday. While attending, I saw several organizations try to survive their cardboard boat ride across a pond at Everly Park in Macomb. “Every organization has to make a cardboard box that [can stay afloat] across the pond,” Sniegolski explained. “They need to decorate it, and they are rewarded for the aesthetics and technical [aspects of building the boat]. They are told what materials they can’t use, and then we give them the cardboard and duct tape,” she said.
On Tuesday, September 18, the Variety Show was at Western Hall, drawing in at least 2,000 people. I also was in attendance for this event, and was able to witness the incredible school spirit, thumping feet, and loud music. During the Variety Show, each organization, whether it was a residence hall, a Greek organization, or another student organization, showcase their talents for the crowd. Sniegolski said, “Variety show is a talent show, and they are judged by [a variety of people]. Staff members, students, and the mayor are even judges. They look over [the performances], and judge them by the incorporation of the [Homecoming theme] and originality.”
Yell Like Hell, the pep rally for all WIU’s students, took place on last night. Dancing and cheering from both the crowd and the performers filled Western Hall. “Everyone decides their own dances,” Sniegolski began, “The football team is there, the Marching Leathernecks are there…everyone is up and ready for the big [football] game.”
From Yell Like Hell, WIU only has to wait for the pinnacle of Homecoming (for most): the football game, which is at 3 p.m. on Saturday against Illinois State University.
If you want to find more information about all the student activities throughout the 2012 WIU Homecoming, visit http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/university_union_board/homecoming/index.php.