Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Homecoming virgin

When my boss stuck me in charge of this special homecoming issue, I knew it could only mean one thing: I was about to lose my homecoming virginity.

Despite being 27, I’d never bothered to attend a homecoming event before. So, to cover this year’s Homecoming Week for the UP, I decided to personally find out what the fuss was about.

Some events proved lame and under-attended, but others I plan to attend again next year.

My biggest disappointment was learning that FAU’s second-biggest 2009 Homecoming expense was $15,000 worth of seemingly nonexistent advertising. The only big advertising effort I noticed — “Homecoming Week is here” signs all over campus — told possible participants nothing, and FAU’s official Homecoming Web site didn’t even include event descriptions. A better-spent $15,000 could have gotten more homecoming virgins and apathetic Owls involved in the tradition of homecoming.

The worst-attended event — budgeted $7,500 — had to be the Homecoming Ball on Oct. 24. I wasn’t even allowed in.

According to Homecoming Director Julie Dias, it was a “semi-formal” event. No dress code was mentioned on the Homecoming site or Facebook group, though, so I showed up in dressed-up jeans.
“They could’ve put it on the flyer for dress code or something, because I looked and it wasn’t there,” said Austin, a junior in jeans who did not give his last name after he too was denied entrance.

Only 200 students attended the ball, according to the Student Involvement & Leadership Office. Dias bragged that that’s nearly twice as many as last year. But considering that 400 tickets were available — and free for students — that seems a waste of $3,750.

On Oct. 25, I checked out the third annual 5K Fun Run, which I expected few students to care about. But according to Race Director Katie Roberts of the Department of Campus Recreation, about 260 runners participated — and most were students.

By marketing more this year, adding banners and multiple online announcements, Campus Rec earned my vote for best-advertised Homecoming event and nearly tripled the number of participants from last year. And they paid for it out of Campus Rec’s own budget.

My favorite event, however, was the 11th annual Timucua Pageant on Oct. 28. This fashion show/talent show hybrid for both sexes drew at least 1,000 people.

Pageant advertising appeared limited to the dorms, though. Most attendees seemed to have stopped by to see what the loud music was about. I wondered how many more people would’ve enjoyed the pageant if they’d only known of it beforehand.

On Oct. 29, Boca Homecoming Princess Me’Lisa Modestil told the UP that the Homecoming parade drew a smaller crowd than last year. But FAU did wait till the day of the event to e-mail a university-wide announcement about it. The only marketing I noticed before that was a press release — not that students read press releases — and postcards seemingly available only in the Student Union.

Next year, let’s make advertising part of the homecoming tradition so that Homecoming Week 2010 can be money even better spent and hook even more homecoming virgins.

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