The University of Southern Mississippi resumed one of its annual homecoming traditions last Monday, Oct. 4, with the Homecoming Kick-Off party at Spirit Park.
This long-awaited homecoming week, themed “Back in Black and Gold”, comes after a year of postponed in-person events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Katie Rogers, the Southern Miss Coordinator of Events and Traditions, was optimistic about the week’s homecoming festivities.
“I am really excited,” Rogers said. “I think we have come out of a year where we are just excited to be in spaces to interact with people and fellowship with each other as Golden Eagles.”
Each year, homecoming week is filled with fun events for the university community. Southern Miss alumni can reunite with old friends while Hattiesburg residents participate in festivities.
Southern Miss has been known for going above and beyond for its campus-wide events, and this year was no exception.
The night started out strong when the DJ cued up the playlist, letting attendees know the party officially started. In one area of Spirit Park, students entered and exited a photo booth with a rotating camera, capturing memorable moments that would later convert through Airdrop into a video.
There were multiple games throughout the event, including a corn hole toss and interactive inflatables, where students could become active and have fun while doing so. It seemed certain that this would be a night to remember.
However, even with more than enough activities to go around, the kickoff event did not attract a large crowd. First-year students Chloe Gramling and Destiny Fagan said that the lack of publicity probably led to the small crowd.
“I don’t think it has enough media reaching out to other people,” Gramling said. “A lot of people are not going to go out of their way to come to something like this.”
“They could have advertised it more,” Fagan agreed, “and more people would have come out. Right now, it is kind of boring.”
While the event’s attendance was a letdown for some students, the party’s offerings did not stop them from enjoying their time.
“The activities are inclusive, though,” Gramling said.
“I like the live music with the DJ,” Fagan said.
Both students expressed a positive outlook about the remaining homecoming weekly events.
“Yes, I am looking forward to the rest of the week,” Gramling said. “I’m not sure what the activities are, but I am looking forward to having more involvement in the university.”
“Yes, I am very excited,” Fagan said. “I’m looking forward to the step show Friday night.”
Although the event drew a crowd smaller than expected, several more events were planned for the week, including the infamous fountain sit and Friday Night at Spirit Park.
“This is really the start of it,” Rogers said. “It is just something that people can come out and enjoy together as friends and take a break from what’s a really busy week and just hang out.”