Campus is no longer neutral territory, but a battleground demanding a master. Homecoming week, themed â€œGet Your Green On,â€ has dyed Greek lifeâ€™s blood green and gold, with a number of participating chapters ready to battle it out in a weeklong, annual competition to decide who has the most school spirit.
The winner will be deemed this yearâ€™s Homecoming Champion, a title ultimately determined by tallying up points awarded by judges in a series of carefully orchestrated activities and competitions, according to Homecoming Committee Advisor Amy Schultz.
â€œItâ€™s a ton of fun to meet new people from different chapters and work as a team to show our school spirit,â€ sophomore Cameron Delphia of Sigma Nu said. â€œThe events allow us to let our competitiveness show; Everyone wants to win.â€
Competitions include the designing and making of spirit banners, a Ram spirit cheer-off, a yard-art competition, a volleyball showdown, a variety show and participation in the Homecoming parade and race.
â€œThe parade is always the coolest part for me,â€ said sophomore participant Rose Chipman of Gamma Phi Beta. â€œIâ€™m from Boulder and no one at CU gets as involved as they do here; the entire Fort Collins community comes together.â€
While participants are committed and preparation has been priority for weeks, Schultz explained the competition as a unifying experience for all Greek life students. Each co-ed team is made up of three to five chapters, resulting in groups of 200 or more students from a multitude of different sororities and fraternities.
â€œWe want to give the over 1,400 Greek-life students a sense of community between chapters, not just their own,â€ Schultz said. â€œThis week is really a time for them to come together in friendly competition and see just how similar they are.â€
After a competition-free barbecue together on CSUâ€™s West Lawn Monday, followed by an educational talk by a guest speaker about hazing prevention, teams descended on campus throughout the week in a fury of team cheering, school spirit, and … guys in tights.
â€œI think my favorite part of the week is the variety show,â€ said Jenny Quist, senior panhellinic director of homecoming week. â€œI love watching the guys get up there and dance or do, to the best of their ability, what we persuade them to.â€
Delphia agrees the entertainment is one of the highlights of Greek homecoming celebrations.
â€œI love the performance competitions because it gives us fraternity men a chance to show off our dance skills,â€ he said.
Men in tights, fiddling bands and synchronized air swimming may not ordinarily fall under the category of philanthropic events, but as part of the variety show on Thursday, students will be paying $1 toward Cans Around the Oval to see this piece of theater.
â€œItâ€™s our biggest philanthropy event during the week; we donated $600 last year,â€ Quist said. â€œIt always gets the most hype and is my personal favorite.â€
While this week is most fundamentally steeped in tradition and the return of alumni and their families is eagerly anticipated, the homecoming committee, including Shultz, Quist and senior Brian Roling, is excited to introduce some new events. The volleyball showdown and Ram spirit cheer-off were fresh on the agenda, but voted in with equal passion.
The strenuous week of booty-popping, cheer-calling and yard-arting culminates in the parade Friday â€“â€“ the final judged event. Competition points will be tallied, winners announced at the homecoming football game and the champion team will reign supreme for the next year.
These Greek warriors may not be armed with bronze shields or sheathed in breastplates, but they expect to conclude the week as valiantly as any hoplite army in history.
Quist said, â€œThe goal is for students to meet other Greeks and see, instead of the letters on their chest, the smiles on their faces.â€
Collegian writer Colleen Canty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.