CUSG is combining forces with other on and off campus contributors to assemble this week’s annual homecoming events.
Erin Westmoreland-King, UMC staff member and coordinator in the Student Involvement Activities and Leadership Development Office, said they decided on a “Get Animated” theme because there are other events on campus that can relate to it.
“The Alumni Association recently honored (alumnus and animated artist) Willis Pyle by opening an exhibit of his work,” Westmoreland-King said.
Kaela Zihlman, CUSG director of homecoming and 21-year-old English and Spanish major, said every year the homecoming committee chooses a theme and a grand marshal. The grand marshal is an honored member of the campus community or an alumnus of the university who has given back to the school.
“Our grand marshal this year is Chip because he has won the universal cheerleading association’s best mascot video of the year award two years in a row,” Zihlman said. “He’s a really recognizable figure on campus, so we decided to honor him.”
Westmoreland-King said they had several different ideas for the marshal and chose Chip because he is a good example of CU’s image as a university.
“We wanted to celebrate that representation and have students be aware of it,” she said.
She said that in the past couple of years CUSG has gotten more involved with planning homecoming, bringing in a student director as co-chair of the event.
“CUSG is a big supporter of homecoming both financially and in terms of coming to our events and helping the staff,” she said.
Zihlman said the tradition of homecoming has been around at CU for decades and the date is decided years before the events even take place.
“We know when all of our homecomings are and who we’re playing in the game because they decide them like seven years in advance,” she said. “It’s more of a national thing now.”
Once the theme, date and marshal are determined, the week’s events are put into place, she said.
Zihlman said the staple events of the week include the parade on the Hill, the pep rally on Pearl Street and the football game on Saturday at Folsom Field.
Other events of the week, including Meet and Greet and Campus Cleanup are posted on the CUSG website.
Westmoreland-King said they try to have a variety of events to attract all kinds of students to get involved with homecoming activities, from the RJD2 concert on Wednesday to smaller events like the “Thriller” dance workshop on Friday.
“We’re trying to reach out to all different student groups,” she said. “We just want to get all of the campus community involved.”
Tyler Adams, a 19-year-old sophomore business major, said he plans to attend the RJD2 concert.
“I heard RJD2 was coming from their website so I’m going with some of my friends,” Adams said. “I’m glad they chose a well-known band that a lot of people know about.”
Zihlman said she has been trying to advance CUSG’s involvement with homecoming and that the CUSG Executive Staff will have a float in the parade.
“It’s really important to make sure that students know the programming does come from CUSG and if they want to see different programs it’s important to talk to the CUSG leaders,” she said.
Adams said he was not aware CUSG was behind most of the homecoming week funding and said he feels relatively uninformed about the events of the week.
“I didn’t know much about homecoming this year or my freshman year but I guess if they advertised it more that might be better,” he said.
Zihlman said funding for the homecoming events comes from CUSG and other on-campus donors, including the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, the office of Chancellors and the Arts and Science Student Government.
“The city of Boulder is our other cohort,” she said. “They get donations from community members like Pasta Jay’s and Boulder University Inn.”
Zihlman said because CUSG is a major contributor to homecoming they are promoting the CUSG fall elections by kicking off the week with candidate debates on Tuesday.
“It’s important because homecoming and elections are two things that students don’t necessarily know about,” she said. “So it’s kind of neat to double up and promote both events.”
Westmoreland-King said the debate is an important part of homecoming week.
“We really want students to go because student fees are decided by the people you elect,” she said. “We want to encourage people to go to the debates so they can learn more and decide who they want to vote for.”
Zihlman said as homecoming director she is trying to get the word out about the meaning of homecoming.
“One of the messages that we’ve been really trying to get out this year is that homecoming is about the students and the community and the alumni coming together,” Zihlman said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Carli Auran at Carli.email@example.com.