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University celebrates homecoming with centennial theme

Special to The Prospector

One hundred years of memories will be displayed in celebration throughout UTEP’s homecoming week, October 5-11. With this year’s theme being the centennial, looking back at the most significant events of the university’s history will
play a key role.

“I guess you could say that I chose the idea,” said Sam Rodriguez, student organizations management and development coordinator. “We pick a theme every year for the student organizations to piggy-back off of for their sub-themes, and knowing that this is the centennial year, it’s the only opportunity to do something like this. We knew we would get a lot of support from choosing a
topic like this.”

Student Engagement and Leadership Center intern Javier Calzadillas, senior organization and corporate communication major, said that campus organizations in the homecoming parade were assigned categories relating to major UTEP and
historical events.

“Like the 1966 basketball championship, Minerpalooza, UTEP traditions, TCM day and UTEP rivalries,” Calzadillas said.

Various events will be held throughout the week for students, as well as fun dress days to help show school pride. Sunday and Friday will be Orange Day, Tuesday-Miner Day, Wednesday-Pajama day, Thursday-Pirate Day and Saturday-Game Day, along with the Distinguished Alumni and Gold Nugget Centennial Celebration Gala, which will place Friday night at the Don Haskins Center.

“We’ll be having a rock wall on Monday, many days with photo booths with props and pictures, ideally to be uploaded onto social media websites. We will also be having Twingo, Bingo via Twitter. Wednesday is lip sync day, where many organizations will be performing,” said Kristy Pacheco, coordinator of student activities. “I think that either the lip sync or the parade will be where

 the theme is most relevant. That’s where we get most students out.”

In honor of 100 years of UTEP pride, some new changes were in order for events taking place during the week. Being a theme to commemorate the past, UTEP students and alumni alike are encouraged to be a part of the week.

“One thing we’re changing is how we present the parade’s floats. Typically, the organizations come together Friday before the parade and they work until about 2 a.m. putting up their floats,” Rodriguez said. “They’d come back at 8 in the morning to put the finishing touches on their floats. After the parades, they’d go straight into tear-down. They’d put dozens of hours into their floats to show them off for like 40 minutes. We wanted to let their hard work be shown for a little longer,.”

The annual RSOlympics, a SELC and Registered Student Organizations competitive collaboration, will be returning throughout homecoming week. The top five organizations will be recognized during halftime of the homecoming football game, with the winner receiving a trophy.

“One change is how we’re scoring the RSOlympics and having teams split into divisions with each team getting a name from a specific era of UTEP’s centennial,” Calzadillas said.

Previous to last year’s homecoming week, the homecoming parade would be held on the Friday of homecoming week, although this has been changed to Saturday for the convenience
of the students.

According to Rodriguez it was difficult to have people come out to it on a Friday, but what pushed them to change was that the ground has been broken for centennial reconstruction in the middle of campus, where the parade was usually held.

“We knew that students wouldn’t come out of class to Glory Road to see the parade on a Friday, so that was the final nail in the coffin,” he said. “Athletics played a role in moving it to Saturdays as well, since a lot of other schools tend to lean towards Saturdays for the homecoming parade anyway. So it allowed them to build it into part of their game day.”

Despite the plans for making the most of the theme, students have conflicting thoughts regarding the choice. Some like the idea, while others believe a more creative alternative would make a better-suited theme.

“I understand the hype for all the centennial stuff, but I feel the homecoming theme shouldn’t be included,” freshman engineering major Merrick Martius said. “It could be cool done right, but who would know if we did it right? Nobody’s going will be 100 years old.”

Regardless of their stance on the theme’s applicability, students are looking forward to the type of homecoming week that only comes once every 100 years.

“(A theme like this) gets UTEP more involved in things. My friends and I will all be participating in homecoming week,” sophomore mechanical engineering major Anthony Gonzalez said.

Joseph Esposito may be reached at [email protected].

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University celebrates homecoming with centennial theme