Tide Together: Homecoming Celebrates the Capstone Spirit
By: Morgan Chandler
Homecoming week is a time when traditions are embraced and the student body comes together for competition and celebration. The theme of this year's homecoming week was "Tide Together: Celebrating the Capstone Spirit." Homecoming Executive Director Samantha Walker said when picking a theme the homecoming committee wanted something that promoted unity and togetherness. Walker said they thought this theme embodied all of campus, the community and the homecoming experience.
Rosalind Moore, director of student involvement and the SGA homecoming adviser, said the theme was chosen because the students felt like it spoke to the energy of campus. They wanted to focus on the present and promoting unity. The week included events student groups could get involved in everyday like a bowling tournament, dodgeball tournament, paint the town competition, choreography competition and more.
Moore said the goal of homecoming week this year was to break down barriers and bring together different student groups. She said the students on the homecoming executive committee wanted to host a week of events that would not only bring together current students, but future students and alumni as well. Moore said her favorite part of the week was the tile competition that was new this year. It was a lawn decoration made out of a tapestry of other pictures, she said. Any student could come get a tile, decorate it and bring it back. A local elementary school even got involved.
Homecoming week also raises money for charity. Moore said the annual Crimson Kickoff event benefitted Best Buddies, which has a local tie as well as a campus tie. Best Buddies is an organization that pairs a community member with a disability with a college student who is simply a friend and mentor. Some of those involved in Best Buddies actually came and played and some of the families of Buddies' came to watch.
Walker said in her opinion the best part of the week was the pep rally on Friday night. "It was great to see alumni come to town to watch the pep rally with their children," Walker said. "There are three to four generations of Alabama fans and students right there together."
Homecoming week helps bring people together and helps students to build pride in their community, Walker said. She said competition brings people together, and that when a group is working hard towards a goal it brings them and their organization together.
Homecoming brings together people from generations, groups and networks to celebrate the University and all it has provided them with, said Mary Lieb, a student in UA's Honors College. "When Honors students were on the basketball court or bowling alley, we weren't just four individuals, we were a team," Lieb said.
Landon Nichols, the graduate assistant for Blackburn Institute, said homecoming was an exciting opportunity to network outside of the organization and get to know people from all over campus. "Tide Together was the perfect theme for homecoming this year and it really precipitated the Blackburn Institute's involvement with homecoming week activities. It was exciting being able to compete alongside other organizations, but knowing at the end of the day, we were all UA," Nichols said. "The Blackburn Institute traditionally has not been very active with homecoming week festivities, but we were thrilled to show our support for Tide Together because Blackburn is all about breaking down barriers and finding common ground." Blackburn Institute celebrated wins in both the can formation in the Tide Division and the ceiling tile decoration competition.
Homecoming week wrapped up with a pep rally and bonfire on Friday night, and Allison Montgomery a senior from Talladega, Alabama, was crowned homecoming queen. Saturday morning the homecoming parade went through downtown Tuscaloosa, and later that afternoon the Crimson Tide capped off the week with a 48-14 win over Western Carolina.
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