Pomp It Up

By Hayley Schulze, Contributor

Photo: Delta Gamma and Tau Kappa Epsilon’s “Battleship” themed float was one of the many floats that students slaved over during homecoming. Photo courtesy of Katelin Beals
Photo: Delta Gamma and Tau Kappa Epsilon’s “Battleship” themed float was one of the many floats that students slaved over during homecoming.
Photo courtesy of Katelin Beals

Anticipation filled the air in the weeks leading up to Furman homecoming. Homecoming season is an exciting time when alumni can come back to their beloved alma mater for another hoorah—reliving their college glory days in a jam-packed 48 hours and this year, the “Welcome Home” banner once more resided above the Furman gates, and the campus became a bustle of activities. Various contests that took place, from creative competitions such as banner and chalking to philanthropic challenges like Havoc.

One of the most popular competitions was the float building. Before I became a member of a sorority, I never knew the backbreaking work that accompanies the construction of these stationary “floats.” But as I spent several hours threading recycled scraps of newspaper through the metal wire, I believed it was time to raise awareness about this tedious task that makes homecoming so special.

Thurs., Oct. 22, the partnered fraternities and sororities began their float building, lasting until 1 a.m. on Sat., Oct. 2. The newspaper-littered mall becomes a chaotic float-building center full of caffeinated Greek life members in that short time span.

During that time I discovered what I like to call the “Four Emotional Stages of Float Building.”

Stage one: confidence. As the float making process commences, the teams are assured that the float production will go smoothly and quickly—“learning” and “growing” from last year’s mistakes. But the hours begin to pass and (what feels like) little progress is seen.

This is when stage two begins: discouragement. Greek members begin to panic slightly, not seeing how it is possible that the massive float will be completed by the deadline. They hastily continue weaving the newspaper clippings through the wire, anxiety and worry filling the air.

Then, the glorious stage three begins: the teams begin to realize that float building is actually a wonderful bonding activity and begin to have fun, making it slightly more carefree. It is in this stage that productivity can increase, as long as the teams do not become apathetic.

After countless grueling hours, stage four finally comes around: accomplishment, followed by a well-deserved night of deep sleep.

I never knew the amount of detail that went into these massive floats. It has given me a greater appreciation for the intricate details that go into homecoming. So next year, when you see a float on the mall, don’t be quick to judge its appearance. Think about the countless hours of designing, planning and executing it took to create it. Please do not use this article for pomping material next year. It needs to be saved for my future memoirs.

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