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Efforts towards inclusivity, service highlight changes to Homecoming 2017

Efforts towards inclusivity, service highlight changes to Homecoming 2017

Talons members lay a pallet on the base of the bonfire. The bonfire is lit the night before the homecoming game. Rachel Walters

Efforts towards inclusivity, service highlight changes to Homecoming 2017
November 06
17:34 2017

Monday marks the beginning of UNT’s Homecoming Week for 2017. This year’s theme, “Deep in the Heart of UNT,” will look to celebrate what UNT has contributed to Texas and also help give back to the community with a few service-based events. Other events returning are the picnic at Library Mall, the bonfire near Apogee Stadium and the football game on Saturday.

Homecoming at UNT is made up of the events and activities fostering school spirit in the week leading up to Saturday’s football game, which will feature the North Texas football team against University of Texas at El Paso. Homecoming was first introduced to UNT in 1929, and it has been celebrated yearly on campus since 1946.

Marketing freshman Tremia Lockett said she is excited for this year’s events, adding they may help bring together those at the university.

“I am really looking forward to the bonfire,” Lockett said. “I think it will serve as a big campus kumbaya.”

Homecoming however, does not come up overnight, as UNT Homecoming Crew Student Director Max Richardson said.

“We started preparing for homecoming last semester,” Richardson said. “We worked through the summer and hosted a retreat where we gave each member of the crew their position we thought they would be best at. Ever since we gave out assignments, the members of the crew have been working on their timelines and coordinating every little detail that each event has to have.”

Richardson, his fellow members of the Homecoming Crew and groups across campus are the ones working behind-the-scenes to make sure homecoming goes smoothly.

Each member covers one aspect. They are selected by an application process and a series of interviews with Richardson. Once chosen, each member is tasked with covering a different niche to narrowly focus on, such as organizing and preparing for the parade, bonfire and spirit day.

A Talons member works on building the Homecoming Bonfire. Talons have been in charge of building this bonfire since 1950. Mallory Cammarata

All of these preparations helped to make the framework for this year’s theme — “Deep in the Heart of UNT.” Richardson explained the theme seeks to highlight the history and impact made by UNT.

“The theme came from this idea that we wanted to highlight the kind of mark that we have left on Texas,” Richardson said. “We have cultivated a history all of our own over the past 125 years, and we have really left our mark on Texas. With almost 150,000 alumni in Texas alone, you can see ‘Mean Green’ spirit wherever you go. We just wanted to be able to embody all of that.”

In order to make this theme a reality, efforts towards inclusivity are at the forefront of the changes made for this year’s homecoming, Richardson said.

“We want to make sure that each student has an opportunity to be able to find something to participate in during the week,” Richardson said. “That is our main goal. We are doing this for the students, the community and the alumni, so we want to sure all of our events are as accessible as possible.”

In addition to inclusivity, Richardson said there is more of a focus on service in this year’s events, with three service events designed to help give back to the community. These events include a donation drive with the Dallas Leadership Foundation to help collect items for those displaced by Hurricane Harvey, a food packaging event with nonprofit Rise Against Hunger and an event called “A Pollinative Prairie Workday,” which Richardson said will involve restoring the prairie at Discovery Park.

“We will be assisting with efforts there to help prepare the prairie for future use in increasing our bee population,” Richardson said.

Coordinator for Campus-Wide Events Cheltzie Miller-Bailey said activities like these help homecoming encapsulate the spirit of UNT.

“I’ve only been at UNT since June, but in that short amount of time, I’ve witnessed the extreme pride and spirit that the community has for this university,” Miller-Bailey said. “Homecoming is a week that celebrates that on a larger scale — a time for students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members to show their appreciation for UNT, its values and the experiences and opportunities it provides all of them.”

A list of events open to students can be found here.

Featured Image: Talons members lay a pallet on the base of the bonfire. The bonfire is lit the night before the homecoming game. Rachel Walters

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Joshua Cassidy

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