North Texas Daily

Bonfire brings students and alumni together before big game

Bonfire brings students and alumni together before big game

November 08
13:15 2014

Hannah Lauritzen and Linda Kessler / Intern Writers

Spirited chants could be heard throughout campus as masses of bundled-up students followed Scappy across the pedestrian bridge to a fiery celebration.

Students, alumni, family and community members gathered just north of Apogee Stadium Friday night for the annual homecoming bonfire.

“Nowhere in America do they celebrate Homecoming like North Texas,” Mean Green Football head coach Dan McCarney said.

A DJ played music on stage before opening remarks from UNT President Neal Smatresk. This was his first time experiencing Homecoming at UNT.

“I didn’t imagine anything like this,” Smatresk said. “You guys rock!”

Smatresk handed the microphone over to McCarney, who encouraged students to make Saturday’s Homecoming game a “black out” by wearing black in honor of UNT’s 1,000th football game.

While waiting for the bonfire to be lit, students crowded around the stage and kept warm by dancing.

“I haven’t seen something like this in a long time, plus this feels like a concert. It’s great,” theater junior Will Garcia said.

A shot from the cannon followed by an explosion of fireworks sent students rushing from the stage to get a closer look as the bonfire went up in flames.

“We live for the bonfire,” electrical engineering junior Jonathan Mickens said. “Anytime you think about UNT and homecoming, it’s literally the bonfire.”

The university’s first homecoming bonfire started in 1935. Building the bonfire was a task given to the Talons in the 1960s. The Talons spend a week building the bonfire, and stay overnight afterwards until it burns out.

“Everyone in Talons has almost the same role. We build it by hand with pallets. We pass the pallets up. There’s a lot of organization in figuring out how to make it exactly fit like a puzzle,” computer science junior Stephanie Lightfoot said. “We’ve been building the bonfire for years and years, and I think it’s an important part of our tradition.”

Yell Like Hell finals took place and winners were announced. According to the UNT Homecoming Twitter feed, the Filipino Student Association won in the student organization category. Maple Hall took home the residence association championship and Greek team four consisting of Delta Gamma, Delta Kappa Delta, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Tau Omega and Iota Phi Theta members won the Greek Life category.

“Man, it feels great to win,” said Mickens, who serves as vice president of Iota Phi Theta. “We put in a lot of work for the last 4 or 5 weeks. Yell Like Hell shows how we have school spirit, and being able to show it in a different fashion than just, you know, our fight song and wearing a green T-shirt.”

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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