Sep 252008
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

CSU decided to re-route the 2008 Homecoming parade to travel through the CSU campus in an effort to increase university participation in the event. The change was made in response to a decrease in student and alumni participation in recent years after the parade was renamed the Community Homecoming Parade in 1996.

The parade, which used to be on West Laurel on Saturday morning before the Homecoming football game, will now start at 5 p.m. Oct. 10 on Howes Street, will cut through the CSU campus and end on the Lory Student Center West Lawn at 6:30.

The route is designed to travel through the Oval to the LSC Plaza and end with a performance by the CSU marching band on the West Lawn.

For several years, students and alumni reported feeling separated from the parade and events. Planners in Student Affairs looked at this as an opportunity to “be part of something bigger” to improve the student-alumni connection to Homecoming events, said Matt Helmer, the director of CSU Events.

Almost as soon as the 2007 parade ended, various university members sat down to review CSU community turnout. They discovered that CSU community participation and attendance had diminished significantly in recent years.

In February, a collection of university and community members-ranging from the office of Student Affairs to the CSU Alumni Association-formed the Homecoming and Family Weekend Committee.

The committee changed the parade date and route so that students would no longer have to choose between tailgating and going to the parade on Saturday morning.

Eager to foster increased university participation, Taylor Smoot, student government president, allocated $5,000 from student fees to be given as $500 grants to 10 registered student organizations.

Of the 170 parade entries last year, less than 10 were directly representative of the university.

“We wanted to support as many organizations as possible,” Smoot said. “It’s an opportunity (for the organizations) to show off their colors to the community and CSU in a fun way.”

As of the Sept. 19 deadline, student government gave grants to eight student organizations. The organizations receiving grants are Collegiate Horsemen’s Association, Keynote Greek Council, Arabic Club, Greek Life (Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Chi, Zeta Tau Alpha), Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Student Services, the Chinese Club, the Dean’s Leadership Council in the College of Applied Human Sciences and the CSU men’s ice hockey team.

Kira Holder, vice president of the Dean’s Leadership Council, expressed excitement and relief because of the grant.

“We are very fortunate to have found the grant,” Holder said. “It makes it fun for everyone. We already do a lot of fundraising, so it takes the pressure off of the organization.”

Their float, half of which remains a secret until the day of the parade, features a giant medal made out of recycled pop cans. The entire float is made of recyclables gathered by the council and donated by members of the Fort Collins community.

“Because the College of Applied Human Sciences is extremely diverse, we really want to represent all the programs and how each can go green,” Holder said. “It’s great because in building it, everyone [on the council] is tapping into secret talents from the construction management majors to those in fashion design.”

As a whole, Brad Bohlander, a university spokesperson, described the Homecoming Festival following the parade, “like Ram Welcome but bigger.”

Free for CSU students, the Homecoming event after the parade will showcase rides, food and fireworks.

Staff writer Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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