For this year’s Homecoming Week, the Michigan Student Assembly packed the schedule with environmentally-driven events, hoping to attract more student participation.

This year’s theme — “Go Blue, Live Green” — is on par with the increased emphasis on “green” programs at the University. The LSA theme semester this year is “Energy Futures,” and there has been an increased focus on alternative energy research at the University this year.

MSA President Sabrina Shingwani said she thinks the popularity of environmentalism on campus will increase participation this year.

“I think that with the new theme, we now have a purpose for not only students but faculty, staff, alumni and the (Ann Arbor) community to get involved with the week — people that don’t necessarily care about the free popcorn and cotton candy,” she said in an e-mail interview.

Shingwani said she hopes this year’s Homecoming will help revive the venerable collegiate tradition, one she said was “lost somewhere throughout the last few decades.”

MSA held Homecoming celebrations last year after an 11-year hiatus. They were discontinued in 1997 because interest had waned compared to celebrations in the 1960s and 1970s.

Organizers said there won’t be a parade this year, though.

“It’s very, very difficult to have a green parade,” said Gibran Baydoun, co-chair of MSA’s Homecoming Select Committee.

The Homecoming Court is back. Voting opens today at www.vote.umich.edu, and the King and Queen will be crowned on Friday.

Homecoming events begin tomorrow with a kick-off carnival and tailgate on the Diag during the day. The week culminates with the Homecoming Football Game against Illinois this Saturday.

Kick Off Tailgate
During the day on Tuesday, there will be a barbecue on the Diag celebrating Michigan Football. The event will feature a live performance by the band Kinetix.

“The Express” Sneak Peek
There will be a screening of Universal Pictures’ “The Express,” at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday in the Lorch Auditorium. The movie tells the story of Ernie Davis, the first black football player to win the Heisman Trophy in 1961 as a halfback at Syracuse University. This event is presented by MSA in collaboration with Universal Pictures and M-Flicks.

Student Showcase
Wednesday’s daytime event on the Diag will feature performances and presentations by University student groups, including a capella groups, dance teams and environmentally oriented student organizations.

T. Boone Pickens
T. Boone Pickens, a billionaire oilman with a new found commitment to alternative energy, is this year’s Homecoming Guest of Honor. He will hold a town hall meeting at the Power Center on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. Pickens has developed a plan to reduce our oil imports to 20 percent of current levels within a decade. His television advertisements, as well as support from prominent politicians and researchers, have many Americans talking about the “Pickens Plan.”

Environmental Philanthropy Day
On Thursday, there will be a recyclable art competition among student groups and an organic food presentation by Whole Foods on the Diag. For information on how to enter the competition, email Gibran Baydoun at gkbaydo@umich.edu.

Pep Rally
The Diag will host Michigan students, alumni, faculty and residents on Friday from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. for what might be the most iconic traditional Homecoming event. The event will offer free food, games, prizes and live music, and the Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned.

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