For the first time in 11 years, Michigan’s homecoming football game will be preceded by a parade around Central Campus and State Street.
The Michigan Student Assembly approved plans at last night’s meeting to fund the first homecoming parade and celebration since 1996. Homecoming weekend was a much larger event in the 1960s and ’70s.
The parade will begin at 3 p.m. on Oct. 11. For about 35 minutes, it will wind its way from the Chemistry Building on North University Avenue to the intersection of Madison and State streets.
MSA set aside $5,000 to rent the streets, provide pickup trucks for the parade and give a stipend of up to $100 for student groups to create their own floats.
Gibran Baydoun, an MSA representative and one of the coordinators of the event, said he is expecting about 20 floats from Greek organizations and student groups all over campus.
That money will also go toward the other weekend events, such as a carnival on the Diag with jousting and cotton candy, a showcase of student dance and a cappella groups and a homecoming king and queen election.
A committee made up of students and administrators will pick 10 candidates for both king and queen, who will be elected by a general election held Oct. 8 and 9. Once elected, the royal court will make a grand appearance at both the parade and the football game.
Some students, however, are not as excited about these events as MSA might hope.
“I think a lot of students are going to pass by thinking, ‘What the hell, I don’t care about a king and queen. Didn’t I just leave high school?’ ” LSA senior Matt Son said.
Other students seem excited – a Facebook group dedicated to homecoming already has over 600 members.
Some students expressed concern about homecoming being scheduled the same weekend as Fall Break, when many students go home.
Other students aren’t exactly thrilled, but they are intrigued.
“I didn’t even know we had a homecoming,” LSA junior Emily Grekin said. “I think it would be successful because there’s already a lot of school spirit on campus.”
Baydoun cited school spirit as the reason for planning a homecoming
“This is an important year to engulf the homecoming spirit,” Baydoun said. “(The football team) had a rocky start. That’s an important reason to keep the homecoming spirit and Michigan spirit alive.”
Baydoun said that a return to the tradition of homecoming will excite students.
“Every other Big Ten school has a type of homecoming celebration,” Baydoun said. “We’re obviously the best Big Ten School for spirit, athletics, academics. We should be the best Big Ten school in celebration of homecoming.”
Purdue, the football team’s opponent on homecoming weekend, is no exception.
Courtney Freeland, an Engineering junior at Purdue, said her school’s homecoming celebration is similar to the plans unfolding in Ann Arbor.
“The parade is pretty cool,” she said, though she admitted most people don’t pay attention to the homecoming court unless they know someone on it.
MSA is hosting float-making workshops today and Friday.
It has contacted more than 800 student groups through e-mail to advertise for the event. However, because many student groups have still not registered with MSA, MSA will continue advertising throughout the month.
“We’re expecting a big turnout, especially because we’re getting as many student groups involved as we can,” Baydoun said.
Nomination forms for the king and queen election are due by Sept. 26 and are available at msa.umich.edu.