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Homecoming shows campus spirit, old traditions

October 26, 2006

Homecoming week has come and gone with immense participation from student organizations, alumni and administration, making the week-long celebration a success.

“From the alumni perspective, it was the best Homecoming in years,” said Marcus Bonde, Homecoming Committee chair. “I’ve received nothing but compliments.”

The week of events was a hit thanks to the students who participated in the activities, he said. More than 700 people attended the Johnny Holm Band concert, 127 students rode the mechanical bull, 400 t-shirts were sold, and 36 registered units participated in the Saturday morning parade.

Newly crowned Homecoming Queen Anna Parsons, a senior and elementary education major, said the entire celebration was great.

“The Homecoming Committee advertised this year, and so many people participated and took the events seriously,” she said. “It was better than the past years, and the parade downtown was great. I saw a bond between the community and the campus that I have never seen before.”

About 800 students voted for this year’s Homecoming King and Queen, Bonde said. Parsons was accompanied by King Cale Ricther of Alpha Gamma Rho.

The royalty winners were announced at halftime during the UW-River Falls vs. UW-Stout football game halftime. The Falcons won 24-20.

While the highlight of Homecoming was the parade, student organizations competed of smaller events, even some that raised money for important causes.

About $970 was donated to K & K Ranch, an equestrian center that offers therapeutic riding sessions in River Falls, Bonde said, and about 243 pounds of pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald House. The money was raised through the Coin Wars and Pop Tabs competitions.

Parsons, a member of the first-place Organization Competition winner, Sigma Sigma Sigma, said the sorority did well because the involvement of all its members.

“I think it helped that our organization is very dedicated to serving other people, and that is why we did so well in the Pop Tabs, Change Wars and Food Drive,” she said. “All our hard work is going to a good cause.”

Student organizations registered in these competitions and others, including the Lip Sync competition, parade, Org-On-Trail Derby and others, receiving points for first through fifth places.

“It was a close running for orgs within like 20 points,” Bonde said.

Parsons said Sigma Sigma Sigma won because of the group’s spirit and overall excitement.

“I am very happy to represent this campus,” she said. “It was truly an experience I will never forget.”

Genevieve Grammer, a senior and animal science major, participated in the parade with the Student Alumni Association (SAA).

The group’s float was themed, “More fun than a barrel of rodeo clowns, and that’s no bull,” she said.

“It was really cool,” Grammer said. “There was a lot more groups involved than we [SAA] anticipated.”

She said a lot of people, including students, faculty, administration and community members, were downtown watching the parade travel the city streets.

“There were a lot of community members who brought their kids out,” Grammer said. “It was a good thing that it was downtown.”

Grammer said the Showdown at the RF Corral theme helped the spirit and success of Homecoming.

“Any club could do anything with the theme,” she said.

Freshman Joe Saugstad said he didn’t expect Homecoming to be such a huge event, and especially enjoyed the theme because he is really into country music.

“The Homecoming was spectacular,” he said, comparing his high school experience at a Milwaukee public school.

The size of the student population of his high school is close to inner-city schools, but not quite, said Saugstad, a biology major.

Students were too apathetic to make Homecoming fun, he said.

“It was never too extravagant,” he said. “I considered it to be nothing.”

With this year being his first Homecoming at UW RF, he said he definitely enjoyed the experience of riding the bull, attending the Johnny Holm Band concert and watching the football game.

“The band was awesome,” Saugstad said. “They had a great variety of music.”

Bonde said this year’s Homecoming celebration was far less stressful than last year.

“When I started, it was in a lag,” he said. “Homecoming is only going to get bigger.”