North Texas Daily

Bonfire back on track after talks of cancellation

Bonfire back on track after talks of cancellation

Bonfire back on track after talks of cancellation
October 05
18:01 2015

Jynn Schubert | Staff Writer


The bonfire for homecoming 2015 is back on following talks on whether to cancel the annual festivity because of a burn ban in effect for Denton County.

It was reported last week that homecoming planners were going to replace the bonfire with a festival, but, following a report from the North Texas Daily in which a fire marshal was quoted, the planners changed course.

“Thanks to [the NT Daily’s] direct quote from the Denton County fire marshall, we realized we might not have had [all the right] information.” said Daniel Suda, the coordinator for campus-wide events and traditions. “We are a state entity and can do [the bonfire], we just have to be very careful with the way we approach it.”

Suda assures students it will be business as usual this year, with the exceptions that there will be no fireworks and the bonfire itself will be smaller, mostly because of the time constraints the Talons organization is under to put it together.

“In a typical year we have several weeks before hand to begin collecting pallets and getting them ready,” Suda said. “It’s a must faster time crunch because everything’s been pushed together into one week.”

[df-subtitle]Earlier: Bonfire likely cancelled[/df-subtitle]

The homecoming bonfire will likely be cancelled because of the Denton County burn ban, and will be replaced with a green-out carnival.

Though no final decision has been officially announced, Director of Student Affairs Christa Coffey said the likelihood of the bonfire taking place is slim.

“We’re 98 percent sure that we’re not going to get enough rain in time,” Coffey said. “[But] nothing’s for sure until a day or two before and we can’t put it together.”

The university will replace the bonfire with “Nonfire Fest,” of which the details will be released at a later time, though Coffey and others said the events will be free for students and alumni.

“Our biggest goal is to find some way to encourage all the students and alumni to come on out to the bonfire and celebrate UNT,” said Daniel Suda, the coordinator for campus-wide events and traditions. “But also understand the bonfire isn’t happening, so we want to have a fun alternative to the original plan.”

Planners decided to obey the county’s burn ban policy in an effort to avoid a potential misdemeanor and continue the ongoing record of good relations between the university and the Denton fire marshal, Laura Behrens.

Behrens wrote in an email that even though UNT is under the jurisdiction of the state fire marshal, the university has been working closely with the city of Denton on many issues.

“While we have no authority to enforce local adopted ordinances or regulations on state property,” Behrens said. “[We] ask that all public safety considerations be taken into account during special event planning.”


Alexis Wong conducts a brainstorming meeting to replace the homecoming bonfire. Matthew Brown | Senior Staff Photographer.

Those involved in the planning of the new event met for two hours Wednesday night to discuss ideas for what to do instead. With five student organizations working on a $4,500 budget, tensions were high. Though most expressed confidence in the university’s ability to make Nonfire a success under such short notice, others were not happy about changing a UNT tradition on the school’s 125th anniversary.

“I think we should just take that misdemeanor,” said Talons bonfire head coordinator Carolina Columba.

Nonfire is expected to appeal to a variety of people, with a wide variety of events.

“I feel like we all came up with a really good idea really fast.” said Dwaelyne Jones, Student Government Association director of student affairs. “It doesn’t capture the essence of tradition at UNT, but it will be very needed.”

Regardless of the replacement event, the bonfire has multiple components that will still take place. Suda urges students to show up for events like the spirit walk and pep rally to boost school spirit and participate in a UNT tradition.

Voting for homecoming court will continue as scheduled, beginning on Oct. 5 through Oct. 8

Students interested in running for homecoming court must have a registered student organization sponsor them, have at least a 3.0 GPA, and have never run for court before. Once selected, applicants will be judged on their leadership skills, involvement on campus, and general school spirit.

“We have a variety of staff and students who assist in the judging of homecoming,” said Suda. “This year we had the assistance from 15 different judges to review the applications and sit in on interviews.”

Those who make it past the judges will be able to start their campaigns to earn as many student votes as they can to win.

“Next week is going to be a doozy for everyone to come and get all this done.” said Jones. “I’m actually really excited to see all of this come together.”

Featured Image: Members of a conglomerate of student organizations brainstorm what to replace the homecoming bonfire with. Matthew Brown | Senior Staff Photographer.

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