This year’s Homecoming team pairings are similar to those in years past, much to the dismay of Independent Council executive board members.
Residence Halls are paired with Greek Houses as usual, but there are new rules for how their Homecoming preparations have to take place because of concerns that independent students weren’t adequately included.
IC members said they lobbied the PuLSE office and the dean of student life to have their own Homecoming team this year because they want more independent students to participate in Homecoming.
“No one knows what it’s like to be an independent on campus better than independents on campus,” said Hannah Wysong, an IC executive board member. “Independents don’t have any ownership of Homecoming.”
Members from the PuLSE office rejected the proposal for a new team.
“While I appreciate you taking the time to consider this option, this option is not viable at this time. This decision has been made after several conversations and sorting out many pros and cons of several options,” said Rob Miller, assistant director of the PuLSE office, in a Sept. 14 email to Wysong.
New Homecoming rules are in place to keep independent students involved fully in Homecoming plans, said dean of student life Irene Stevens.
Planning meetings now are required to be held in places other than Greek houses where they normally have been held in years past. Also, there are specific liaisons who are designated to represent independent students’ interest.
Another new requirement is having a required number of students from each entity within a Homecoming group to show up to any given event.
“We thought that these options were going to be better to get more independents involved,” Stevens said.
The discrepancy in how large an independent team would be versus a Greek team was the primary reason that the PuLSE office decided against a completely independent Homecoming team, Stevens said.
Wysong said she met with PuLSE office director Caroline Huck-Watson last November to get the ball rolling, and as far as she knew, the idea was going to be approved.
Homecoming co-chair Camryn Walton told Wysong in an Aug. 3 email that Miller and Huck-Watson approached her about the idea of an independent team and that she liked the concept as long as they could work out fundraising logistics.
Wysong said she drafted a $620 Homecoming budget and was eventually able to get it approved through the office of residence life.
Even though the PuLSE office eventually rejected the idea, Miller offered Wysong the option of creating a commuter Homecoming group.
Amie Wright, IC president, said the idea wasn’t exactly what she and Wysong wanted but that it was a step in the right direction.
“We saw that option as more of a foot in the door,” Wright said.
At the Homecoming kickoff, Walton announced residence hall pairings. The concession to offer commuter students their own group is not reflected in the list.
Wysong said even though she’s glad the new regulations will keep independent students more involved in the Homecoming planning process, she’s not pleased that they can’t have their own group.
“I’m exasperated,” Wysong said. “Essentially, this decision directly affects independents, but we have no control over it in the end.”