More than a Parade: Behind the Scenes of SMU Homecoming
By Emma Clayton
55 hours of float building.
94 years of tradition.
SMU’s homecoming weekend is full of fun and tradition for the spectators, but before the crowds start cheering, there is a lot that takes place in making it all happen.
“Homecoming is a huge time commitment,” Chi Omega Homecoming Chair Maddie Duffey said. “But the parade and the final results is [sic] what makes it.”
Eighteen organizations compete for the chance to take the homecoming crown in weeklong events.
Detailed creations that stem from events during Homecoming such as Peruna and Banner paintings are displayed throughout SMU’s campus for people passing by to enjoy, but the amount of effort each organization puts in to create them can easily be overshadowed.
“I love to see the painted Perunas,” Student Foundations Homecoming Chair Marlo Weisberg said. “Some of the designs are really detailed, and the creative spin each organization takes on it is really unique.”
Weisberg said many people would be surprised to learn that planning for Homecoming begins the year before as it takes time to hire vendors and make sure all events are in place.
In 1920, SMU hosted its first Homecoming celebration, but the first Fall homecoming was celebrated in 1924 on Thanksgiving day. The festivities included booths at the University Club and a special edition of the Campus, the student newspaper.
In 2017, the competition for SMU’s homecoming crown is multi-faceted and is made up of many smaller competitions, including Field Day, Peruna painting, banner painting and spirit. Keeping on top of all the elements for a successful showing is a challenge.
“Three things could be due on the same day, same time but at different locations, and if you miss a deadline you don’t get those points” Duffey said. “ I had to rely on my committee a lot for helping me make sure everything was getting done on time.”
As the head of homecoming activities for her sorority, Duffey was responsible for designing and planning Chi Omega’s involvement in homecoming and making sure members put in work to bring it all to life. She relied on her homecoming committee to lead alongside her.
“The job is so big there’s no way one person can successfully do everything,” Duffey said. “I delegated tasks to different people when I couldn’t do two things at once.”
Participating in homecoming at SMU can be time-consuming, but seeing the end result is rewarding. During the parade, organizations celebrate their accomplishments for the week and hope to take the crown during halftime at the football game.
“School spirit at SMU really shines during homecoming week,” SMU student Colleen Leider said. “People definitely hate having to put in the work into float building or painting, but at the end of the day, it is a great bonding experience for different organizations and the entire community.”