Whether you’re painting this year’s banner for your organization, getting costumes ready for the skit night or firing up the grill at tailgate terrace feasting before the big game, traditions have made today’s homecoming experience something for the students and alumni to enjoy.
Many students believe that the homecoming traditions and adaptations of old traditions bring Trojans together to increase school spirit. However, other students feel that the increased competition between organizations could counteract the purpose of homecoming: unity within the university.
“Homecoming has gotten a lot more competitive,” said Trip Hubbard, a senior English language arts major from Montgomery who also serves as the vice president of campus activities. “I feel that some students have lost the sense of what the spirit of homecoming should be. Lots of groups are getting angry at other groups, and it gets tense.”
Still, many students find enjoyment in watching the competitions and find that they do bring together Trojans.
“I think that homecoming competitions unify students because it gives everyone something to do,” said Brandy Caldwell, a sophomore biology major from Elba.
When asked about students who are not a part of groups that compete in homecoming competitions Caldwell said, “I don’t really know. You see, I’m not really in any organizations, but it just gives students something to watch or something to look forward to.”
Activities such as the dance competition, the banner competition, Skit Night, the judging of parade floats, step shows, tailgates, the crowning of homecoming queen, the pep rally and the new Service Day are all part of this year’s celebration. Out of those nine events, five of the events are competitions, placing teams (commonly made up of organizations) against one another.
Barbara Patterson, director of student involvement and leadership, has seen many Troy homecomings over the years and highlighted some significant changes such as the growth of homecoming events and competitions, the campaigning of homecoming queen and the increased amount of responsibility that lies on the Student Government Association in preparation for the celebration.
Patterson noted changes in events such as dance night. She said that the dance competition used to look more like a dance marathon where couples would dance together and the judges would pick the best couple. Now students practice for weeks perfecting their routine for this year’s dance competition.
“I was surprised when I saw students campaigning,” Patterson said. “It used to be they never campaigned.”
According to Patterson, candidates for homecoming court started campaigning over the last five years.
Courtney Addison, a junior from Excel and a sister of Alpha Gamma Delta, said that in no way does the competition overshadow the purpose.
“I know that a lot of people have said that homecoming competition is nothing but a fraternity battling another fraternity or a sorority battling another sorority, but to me it isn’t that way,” Addison said. “I take pride in my university and in my sorority as well. I think it all works together for Troy University as a whole. I don’t see it as negative competition. At times it can get a little heated – I’m not going to lie. But I don’t think that it overpowers the message of homecoming.”
She also mentioned that competitions are for alumni members who come back to Troy.
According to alumni director Faith Ward, alumni from as early as the 1950’s still come to this campus to view to see how their organizations have flourished.
Brandon Gurubel, a junior marketing major from Lake Martin and a member of FarmHouse fraternity, said that he can see both sides.
“I think there does need to be more of a united effort in a sense to where maybe all organizations could work together,” Gurubel said. “Maybe one big project or more or less a project or just working together to promote Troy spirit through the week.”
“But at the same time, I think that competition is good and healthy for getting more people involved. People have pride in their organizations, and they don’t want to see their organization put to shame by other competition. They want to compete and competition gets people out there. It get’s people motivated to just do a good job,” Gurubel said.