[Web Ed. Note: Don’t miss the huge photo galley of Homecoming, below the article.]
For those many people that attended Millersville University’s 2008 Homecoming on November 1, they probably noticed the almost carnival-like atmosphere.
The first time occurrence for this type of fun-filled afternoon was complete with a woman on stilts, a large tent with vendors, a moon bounce and multiple food stands boasting funnel cakes, French fries, and sandwiches.
According to Steven DiGuiseppe, the executive director of alumni, special events, and data management, this new idea for Homecoming was proposed by the alumni association with the purpose of engaging more of the campus residents and general Millersville community.
The idea specifically included inviting various artistic vendors and community organizations to campus to draw people in, as well as incorporating student organizations for a lucrative fundraising opportunity.
“We heard a variety of comments that people enjoyed all of the food and vendors,” said DiGuiseppe. “It was a good ‘feel good’ thing. We had things going on simultaneously all weekend.”
One of the student organizations that had a stand was the Slip and Score Society for Ceramics. Junior Jared Bender was creating various pottery works while onlookers stopped to watch.
According to Bender, having the stand was a nice way to get people interested and let them know about the upcoming pottery sale at the end of November.
“It’s the first time that we get to do work in front of people instead of just sitting in a studio by yourself,” said Bender.
Featured events for Homecoming, other than the obvious sports games, were the community parade, a pet costume contest, and the crowning of the charity king and queen, with other various activities taking place throughout the day such as a treasure hunt, dog frisbee show, juggling and a reptile show.
Junior Liz Lightkep and senior Alison Horne were thoroughly enjoying the event, having even made their own t-shirts to commemorate Homecoming.
According to both Lightkep and Horne, Homecoming for them is more about the festivities than the football game, even though they felt there was quite a lot going on.
“Today was actually a little too intense,” said Lightkep. “But this is the best day of the year.”
“Homecoming is the best day of the year by far,” said Horne.
The community parade had a theme of Animals: Fictional or Real and included over 2,000 people, 16 bands, 90 live animals of all sorts, and five large helium balloons. As chairman of the parade committee, DiGuiseppe and several others carefully planned this 12th annual community parade over the last year.
This committee raised over $24,000 to fund the two mile parade, which thousands of people came to watch. After the parade, people flooded the campus to enjoy the rest of the fun activities.
“It’s a great community-university effort,” said DiGuiseppe. “We’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the parade.”
Next year’s parade is to have a theme of Myths, Fables and Fairytales.
In addition to the parade, MU’s 75th anniversary for Homecoming also featured a pet costume contest, in which anyone within the community could participate.
There were 23 entries and five awards were given out to the funniest, scariest, cutest, most original, and best pet/person duo participants. Winner of the funniest costume was a dog dressed-up as a daisy, scariest costume was awarded to a dog as a vampire, cutest went to a Snow White dog, most original was a dog as walking concession stand, and the best pet/person duo went to a guinea pig dressed as a duck.
The pet costume contest was sponsored by the Alumni Association and Manor Animal Hospital.
The crowning of the charity king and queen also interested many people at Homecoming. Charity queen was Ellen Fischl, a senior in the Alpha Di Zelta sorority. Fischl raised an astounding $18,908.66 for the Make-a-Wish foundation. Junior Christopher Torres was crowned charity king for raising $2,453.77 for the North American Food Drive, according to DiGuiseppe.
Of course, at MU to enjoy the festivities of Homecoming were alumni. Betse Person, Harriet Kuberski, Sue DiCarlo, Barbara Miller, Barbara Lenker, Rosemary Fornadel and Anne Dunn graduated in 1963 and attended Homecoming in honor of their 45th reunion.
“We like a variety, we went to the bookstore and we went to lunch,” said Kuberski.
The women were happy to recount their memories of Millersville University when they attended and were actually members of The Snapper staff. They reminisced on the all-girl dorms, signing in and out of each dorm, and the dress code for dinner.
“It’s interesting to see the changes in the campus,” said Dunn.
“If you dropped me here blindfolded,” said Person. “I wouldn’t know where I was.”
With all of the new activities going on throughout the day, it seems that most of those who attended appreciated alumni services’ and the alumni association’s efforts in engaging more people in Homecoming 2008.
DiGuiseppe gives most of the credit to Dianne O’Connor, the director of alumni services.
“Hats off to Dianne O’Connor, her staff and volunteers for making Homecoming 2008 the best yet,” said DiGuiseppe.