Homecoming Week kicks off with service, spirit

By By Niccolo Barber, Staff Writer

By Niccolo Barber, Staff Writer

When Richard Raybould attended the U almost 60 years ago, he remembers homecoming as a spirited week of events mostly geared toward sororities and fraternities.

Now, Raybould, who graduated in 1950, and his wife are returning to the U to serve as this year’s Homecoming Marshals. This time, Raybould said Homecoming has a different feel.

“When I went to the U, homecoming was limited to Greek Row,” Raybould said. “The Alumni Association has done a good job making homecoming a campus-wide celebration.”

Raybould is glad to see homecoming expand its focus and act more inclusively to the diverse population of students at the U.

Homecoming Week kicked off Saturday as students and alumni gathered for the festivities8212;past and present Utes sharing the commonality of Utah spirit.

As Homecoming Week evolved over the years, so did its focus on outreach and community service. Some of the events during the week are specifically designed to increase community awareness and raise scholarship money.

With a decline in greek life over past decades, the focus has shifted away from Greek Row and more toward campus life in general.

The U still has homecoming traditions, such as the house-decorating contest and Songfest, which have been at the U for decades, but the greeks used to have several other competitions during the week. The U would tally up the different events and announce one fraternity and sorority as the homecoming winners.

Now, events like the house-decorating contest have been extended to include other students, such as those living in the Residence Halls and Officer’s Circle.

John Ashton, who received two degrees from the U, one in 1966 and another in 1969, and now serves as the executive director of the Alumni Association, said homecoming now includes an increased focus on scholarships. Ashton said last year’s golf scholarship scramble raised $22,000 and the Young Alumni Scholarship 5k raised more than $25,000.

Students participated in community service Saturday at local elementary schools and the Utah Food Bank with the Legacy of Lowell Annual Service Day, sponsored by the Bennion Community Service Center.

Many at the U anticipate a lively week during this year’s homecoming.
Senior Class President Madison Warren said she has been working hard to increase school spirit in the community.

To start the week off on the proper foot, several students from the U spent Saturday painting the town red with Us throughout Salt Lake City areas neighboring the U.

“The U and the community are not really connected,” Madison said. “We’re trying to close that gap and create Ute spirit all over the place.”
As Homecoming Week evolves from year to year, school spirit remains constant.

“Every year I’ve seen growth in student involvement and school spirit,” said Brandon Patterson, this year’s homecoming king. “It’s going to be an exciting week.”

[email protected]