By Jeff Levene
As a gawky nerd from Furman’s chapter of GDI, one might expect I have some immense vendetta against Homecoming’s flamboyant celebration of popularity, Greek life and football prowess. The campus spends thousands of dollars on caulk. Fully grown alumni come back to relive the college booze cruise. The football game’s halftime show is dominated by more pomp and circumstance than an English royal wedding.
But despite Homecoming’s excessive nature, there is a delightful charm that comes along with voting on our king and queen, creating colorful floats and attending some sweet FUSAB events (I hear they’re bringing a zip line to campus this year). There is something for everyone all packed into one fun-loving, competition-going, GPA-dropping week. More importantly, however, Homecoming doesn’t only present us with Furman’s royalty, but also shows off some of the incredible talents and tastes of the kingdom that is our campus.
Now, this may be a shameless plug for FUSAB (of which I am a member), but the honest truth is that Homecoming would be nothing without HAVOC, Furman’s very own “reality show.” HAVOC features 20 various Furman students, all dressed in costumes that reflect the Homecoming theme, who live in front of the library for a long five days and compete in various elimination events and voting executions. With the “Characters in Time” theme, we can hope to see various centurions, cowboys, and Doctor Who duke it out in life size Battleship games and runway model competitions. More importantly, these characters will be competing to raise money for the charities of their choice and will become the philanthropic heroes that Furman’s community deserves.
The week of my freshman Homecoming, our FRAD, a long-haired hard rock-loving Psych major nicknamed “Magic,” sent out a mass e-mail to our hall titled “Homecoming Dance: Fear Not My Comrades, We Shall Win the Ladies.” The message detailed the importance of taking advantage of the event as a chance at true love, or at least some extra-curricular activity. Now, while Magic may have exaggerated a bit, and nothing may be more clichéd than the romance that surrounds the Homecoming dance, this hype and these clichés only add to the gravity of asking that special someone to the week’s grand finale. Unlike Magic, I’m not going to call this your one chance at earning that MR or MRS degree. But the fall air, the hot Greenville lights, and the mix of club rap with the likes of “Jessie’s Girl” certainly makes for a special evening. It makes it worth the embarrassment of possibly getting burned by your crush.
The greatest moment of Homecoming isn’t any of the specific events or heroes, but simply being on the mall on Friday night. The float competition takes voice with the battling speakers, ‘80s pop music blasting from one team, Tupac from the next. My organ-playing roommate has always been tempted to compete for the music majors by opening the Chapel doors and pounding out the “Imperial March” from Star Wars, but I doubt even he could outdo KA’s Kenny Chesney Pandora station. But even with the cacophony of sound battling for your attention, students of all walks of life walk between floats, congratulating each other on a job well done or a cool idea. Friends from opposing teams take a break to grab a corn dog and a funnel cake, ride on one of the twirly fair rides or, if gutsy, do both. It’s a glorious metaphor of Furman’s community working, eating, playing, and getting sick together. It is a tapestry of our friendships and a cultural spectacle to behold.
I’m slightly embarrassed with getting so sentimental and cheesy, but Homecoming just has a way of tweaking our cynicism and reviving our faith in the school community. Homecoming has a niche for everyone, so whatever you do remember that there’s a place in Homecoming for everyone, from Homecoming Queen to Homecoming Peasant. Just remember to bow or salute when passing by Furman’s royalty.