According to the highly credible sources of Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy and NCIS, the University of Missouri is the birthplace of Homecoming. Mizzou’s campus is abuzz every fall with excitement and anticipation of our very own holiday. This year it seems that everyone is counting down the days until Oct. 15 and the game against Iowa State. The 2011 Homecoming Centennial will set the standard for what it takes to be a Tiger. Going above and beyond to recognize the many facets of this beloved tradition, the Mizzou Alumni Association and the Homecoming Steering Committee hope to highlight lasting traditions and reincarnate traditions that have been forgotten through the years.
Morgan Adrian, one of the Homecoming Tri-Directors, has put in countless hours of preparation to make this year’s Homecoming celebration unforgettable. “Students and alumni should expect an absolute celebration of the grandest tradition at Mizzou,” she says.
Celebrating 100 Years
The centennial celebration of Homecoming has been the talk of many Tigers throughout the fall
semester. The traditions recognized during Homecoming, such as Campus Decorations, Talent Competition and of course the Homecoming Day Parade, are parts of the event that bring together all members of the Mizzou family. And what better way to memorialize this Tiger tradition than by recognizing the founder himself? The family of Chester Brewer, the founder of Homecoming, will represent him as the 2011 Grand Marshal. Chester Brewer started Homecoming because he yearned for MU alumni to “come home” for the football game against the University of Kansas.
“I’m excited to see all of the alumni and current students unite for one of Mizzou’s favorite traditions,” junior Allison Jansen says. “It’s definitely going to be a celebration to remember.”
The theme for the various competitions within Homecoming is Celebrations. Campus decorations, banners, parade floats and skits all revolve around a certain celebration. Greek chapters, campus organizations and residence halls picked from a number of different celebrations, including a Sweet 16 birthday and the Olympics.
Traditions Old and New
Rest assured, this year’s Homecoming events will be bigger and better than ever. More than 300 Mizzou students participated in the Centennial Service Day on Saturday, Oct. 1. During this event students worked to beautify our campus for the alumni returning to Mizzou. In addition, Homecoming participants have collected more than 17,711 pounds of food, which adds up to 13,316 meals for those in need. The Homecoming Centennial Blood Drive aimed to collect 5,000 units of blood this year. Even though they fell just short of that goal, students and community members still helped Mizzou surpass its own record as the largest student-run blood drive in the U.S. “This year the blood drive was the most organized and systematic that I’ve ever seen it,” junior Karen Brunner says. “The overall atmosphere was very vigorous. It made me feel good about what I was doing.”
The Talent Competition has also undergone some significant changes. By removing finals, the Homecoming Steering Committee and Mizzou Alumni Association think every night of the Talent Competition will have the same excitement and thrill that the finals night previously encompassed. As a dancer for her Greek chapter, Alex Swetnam is excited to step onto the stage for the centennial Talent Competition. “I’m thrilled to dance during Talent this year,” Alex says. “It’s always so exciting to step onto the stage, but it’s going to be even more memorable for the 100th Homecoming.”
A tradition brought back to life this year is the Romp, Chomp and Stomp tailgate. In past years, this tradition sparked Tiger spirit with both a bonfire and a barbecue. This year’s tailgate will begin immediately following the Homecoming Parade around 10:30 a.m. For $10, participants can enjoy unlimited food and drink, plus live entertainment to pump them up before the game.
Alumni return rates this year are expected to skyrocket. Nearly every Columbia-area hotel is booked to capacity as Tiger fans plan their return to recognize this 100-year-old tradition. The Centennial Homecoming marks a university event sure to stay around for years to come.
For more information, check out the Mizzou Alumni Association website.