This semester, Texas State has become known for doing things very big. With a record breaking first football game of over 15,000 students, a 13,500 person stadium expansion and the largest student population on record, Texas State is, well, BIG. Yet no matter how big the university gets, arguably the biggest tradition Texas State has to offer is Homecoming.
Homecoming is a week long celebration of all things Texas State. Events begin this year on Sunday October 23rd with Powderpuff Football and 3 on 3 basketball. Throughout the week there are several main attractions that draw much student attention such as the Talent Show, Spirit Rally and Soap Box Derby.
But Homecoming doesn’t come together all by itself and it certainly doesn’t come together overnight. Director of Homecoming Rachael Horton and the Student Association for Campus Activities (SACA) have been working since last semester to get the word for Homecoming 2011 out to the student body.
“Homecoming starts for me back in April, reserving all the venues and contacting the necessary people,” said Rachel. “Back in April we’re just getting the word out, kind of like a word of mouth thing. The marketing part doesn’t really start until Septemer.”
Once September rolls around the work really begins. Everything from each individual event to Homecoming Court voting must be put together in a a rather short timeline. Rachael and all of SACA are extremely involved in the process and work hard to put together a Homecoming week the student body is sure to enjoy. This year’s Homecoming is expected to bring out a large crowd of students.
“I think this Homecoming is a lot different because it’s our last year in the Southland Conference,” said Rachel. “We have a lot of pride and initiative now because everyone’s waiting for the new stadium and the Western Athletic Conference.”
The Western Athletic Conference has also probably had a hand in the large number of students going to each home game with the number never dipping below 15,000 in attendance.
Student involvement is what really makes Homecoming the large scale event that it is. Every year thousands of students participate in the festivities. Every year a thousand attend the Homecoming Talent Show and the football game attendance has always been large. But nothing draws out student participation like the 5,000 to 10,000 students who vote in Homecoming Royalty elections.
Announced at the Homecoming Talent Show Homecoming Royalty consists of Dukes and Duchesses from each residence hall, 6 male and 6 female Gaillardians and 4 kings and 4 queen finalists who are ultimately in the running to win the title of Texas State Homecoming King and Queen. Nominations come through organizations and the competition gets fierce.
“It gets pretty big, every organization wants to be represented through Homecoming royalty so they start nominating early, then everyone starts voting and pretty much whoever wins is pretty much the face of Texas State,” said Rachel. “It does get pretty competitive.”
Luckily Homecoming isn’t all about the competitive spirit between students. When it comes down to it it’s about the students coming together to compete against another school’s pride, and Texas State has plenty of that to go around as our 5 football game wins have proven.
“It’s just one whole week of unity between the student body, the faculty and the alumni,” said Rachael. I think it’s so big because alumni look forward to coming back for Homecoming and the student body looks forward to being able to show their pride and faculty looks forward to seeing it all play out.”
This year’s Homecoming is certainly bound to bring all of Texas State together in a great celebration of all the big things we’re accomplishing. The university has always been about getting students involved together and next week will be no different. And the great news? The unifying isn’t over at the end of the winning touchdown on game day. It continues on just as Homecoming will, as a great legacy within the Texas Hill Country.