Altering the Face of Homecoming

For more than 51 years, UNLV has commemorated among its longest running traditions: homecoming.

The activity-filled, themed week throughout the fall semester features a range of events like window painting, the Rebel variety program, and many spirited Rebel, and philanthropy. Homecoming is typically a time for trainees and faculty alike to obtain included and show their school spirit. But not every trainee was quite so moved by the spirit, according to hospitality trainee and homecoming co-coordinator Colleen Hoyt.

“Homecoming was just not for them,” Hoyt said.

There was a history, homecoming co-coordinator Bianca Barbaryan said, that homecoming was targeted toward students who are involved in fraternities and sororities. Previous homecoming mainly concentrated on the included trainees and competitors, and less on school spirit and pride. As members of the Rebel Events Board, Hoyt and Barbaryan refocused their work to recapture that sense of school spirit by redefining homecoming’s entire culture.

With a year of research under their belts, they produced a plan to engage the entire campus neighborhood, building on recognized homecoming customs and adding brand-new ones to the mix. They partnered with numerous trainee organizations to make philanthropy the main staple of this year’s homecoming. This previous year alone, UNLV tripled its charitable contributions from the week of occasions. The trainees raised more than $5,100 in money and gift cards for Paradise Grade school.

The philanthropic approach is similar to how Top Tier universities around the country have taken on homecoming, school spirit, and the neighborhood. While that offers a blueprint, UNLV is primarily comprised of commuters so they needed to factor in those circumstances. In spring 2016, the Rebel Events Board got feedback from the students and ask exactly what they wished to see change and/or consisted of; philanthropy was the response. The board had to get innovative and build events that worked best for UNLV.

“We thought of different ways to integrate community and competitors at the exact same time,” Hoyt stated. “How can we customize this event to fit the UNLV community?”

The next step; discover ways for Fraternity and Sorority Life to collaborate with and work together with students who are associated with other companies. It was necessary to Hoyt and Barbaryan to produce the chance for trainee companies to pick their own adventure and participate in events that they were capable of participating in. Allowing trainee groups to choose to participate by doing this permits them to take charge of their homecoming experience.

Formerly, very few students beyond Fraternity and Sorority Life participated in the homecoming competitors. Black Student Organization, Trainee Athletes, and Dormitory Association were the only other groups who contended

“We want to have more than the same two groups completing versus each other every year,” Barbayan stated.

Hoyt and Barbayan actively searched for methods to promote inclusivity, and eliminate the stereotype that Homecoming was entirely for Fraternity and Sorority Life trainees.

The option was to include competitive fundraising activities like Cent Wars, Box Top collections, and a Blanket Tie-A-Thon– competitions that brought all student organizations together. The students were able to see that they had a favorable impact on their neighborhood, and due to the fact that of that, students wanted to become more included.

The competition heated up enough to secure a big donation for Paradise Primary school when it concerned Cent Wars. Two teams get a jar, and every cent they gather ratings favorable points. However any currency dropped in the container other than cents knocks points off the overall score. Down to the final seconds, students were rallying screwing up each other raising the most cash “for the children.”

“We had group dropping $100 expenses in their opponents container,” Barbaryan said. “They understood the cash was going to a great cause and they desired their group to win.”

With a strategy combining neighborhood outreach and competition in location, the planning committee is already looking towards this year’s homecoming with an eye on activities that are a lot more community-minded and inclusive. The Rebel Occasions Board and the new homecoming coordinators are ready to build on this new foundation and formulate strong ongoing collaborations with alumni and sports.

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