Last week was homecoming week: the one time a year when alumni and current students come together to celebrate SIUE.
This year, Homecoming chair within the Campus Activities Board Leadership Council Askya Quinn, a senior psychology major from St. Louis, made it her goal to get a wide variety of students to partake in the homecoming events.
“My biggest thing this year was to make sure that everyone felt included, that everyone was aware of homecoming and that everyone could come and enjoy whatever we had to offer,” Quinn said.
This year was the first time that the Spanish Honor Society Sigma Delta Phi participated in homecoming. The organization received word of the events through an email sent to officers of student organizations. Sigma Delta Phi’s involvement helped Quinn to achieve her goal of making homecoming more inclusive to all organizations.
“I think they did a good job [including everybody],” senior Spanish major and Sigma Delta Pi member Rachel Liefer, of Redbud, Illinois, said. “We felt really welcome the whole time we were doing the activities.”
Sigma Delta Pi brought Hispanic culture to many of the week’s events, including the golf cart decorating contest and Saturday’s game by showcasing traditional Hispanic foods and decorations. By showing pride in their organization, they also showed pride in being a Cougar.
“I think [the Homecoming events] build up a sense of school pride which really helps to include everybody,” Liefer said.
Homecoming Queen Courtney Chapman, a senior biology and business major from Rochester, Illinois, also saw how the campus body united over the course of her campaign. Chapman, who is the chapter president of Alpha Phi at SIUE, knew the importance of reaching out beyond just those involved in Greek life.
“I really tried to go out on the Quad Monday and Tuesday and talk to students who I’ve never talked to before,” Chapman said. “It was so nice getting to know different people.”
Homecoming not only brings together current students; it also brings former students back to campus. The Alumni Association hosted the Alumni Hall of Fame Dinner on Friday night, and then started Saturday morning with the third annual Cougars Unleashed Homecoming Run. Later Saturday afternoon, alumni gathered for the Alumni Association Tailgate.
For many alumni, such as Andrew Ravanelli, who graduated from SIUE in 2004 with a bachelor’s in biology and genetic engineering, homecoming is an opportunity to see how the university has developed.
“I’ve watched the university transform physically over the last 30 years and so every time I come back there is something new: either a new building, a new organization or some [other] update,” Ravanelli said. “It’s so cool to see that the university is still a living organism that’s constantly changing, and it makes me very proud to be back here.”
Between the students and alumni, this year’s homecoming events had high levels of attendance, showing Quinn that all of her planning resulted in success.
“It’s been great to see how many people came and participated,” Quinn said. “That’s what it’s all about; it’s all about the students, the alumni and other people just enjoying all the hard work that [CAB has] put in.”