Collaborative effort makes Homecoming week a success

Feb 28, 2019

Homecoming week, held from Feb. 18-24, was a time for the Newman community to celebrate what it means to be a Jet. The week was packed with fun activities and events for all to enjoy.

Though Homecoming happens every year, it always takes a huge amount of planning and hard work behind the scenes to pull it off.

The Homecoming committee started planning for this year’s events months in advance. Individuals from all around campus, including Student Life officials, a Student Government Association representative, Athletics officials and more, gather during the fall semester to begin planning out the week.

“Homecoming is a timeless tradition where we welcome our students, alums, faculty, staff and community supporters back to celebrate the spirit of our university,” said Director of Student Activities Morgan Calvert. “I have the pleasure of partnering with various entities across campus to ensure that the Homecoming celebration is a success. We celebrated Newman University’s 86th Homecoming and this one in particular emanated the amount of Jet pride I get to see in my office every day..”

In meetings, the committee reviews previous events and brainstorms new ideas to create an engaging and entertaining week for students.

The committee decided on a theme of the ’80s for this year, which played a large part in many of the Homecoming events.

Activities were kicked off on Monday with the Homecoming banner competition, voting for king and queen nominees, a Johnny Jet selfie contest and a Campus Activities Board (CAB) trivia night.

A few of the homecoming banners hang in the Gorges Atrium.

For the banner competition, athletic teams, clubs and organizations painted bed sheets that were hung up around Gorges Atrium for admiration. They were voted on both by a panel of judges and also on social media. Many banners represented the ’80s theme with boom boxes and vibrant colors.

The trivia night hosted by CAB was a new event. Calvert noticed that students received the event really well and said it got very competitive.

A clip of the CAB Trivia Night animated slideshow. Question by Jeff Lovgren, Triathlon Coach.

CAB members got creative with the miscellaneous trivia game and asked students, staff and faculty around campus to create the questions. For the question they created, an animated slideshow showed a photo of the individual and introduced them so students became familiar with some faces they might often see around campus.

Twelve teams participated and 67 students attended the event. The prize for the winning team was a $200 Amazon gift card.

On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Newman celebrated the beloved Heritage Month tradition of High Tea. Dean of Students Christine Schneikert-Luebbe, a first-time attendee, said she loved the event.

High Tea attendees dress up for the popular event.

“I have worked on a number of different campuses and have never experienced anything like that anywhere before,” she said. “The entire tradition is something so unique to Newman University and really epitomizes the community feeling on our campus. I especially loved seeing people dress up and bring their children to the event.”

By Wednesday it was time to gear up for the big Homecoming game. There was a “Party in the Gym” event Wednesday evening, during which the Homecoming Court was announced, games were played, pizza was eaten, and lots of memories were made. Prior to that, students participated in a “search and find” hosted by athletics. The game was similar to an Easter egg hunt but instead of eggs, students hunted for ping pong balls and the student who found the most received a prize.

Thursday was Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman’s birthday and an 11 a.m. Mass was held in St. John’s Chapel to celebrate, complete with birthday cake in Mabee Dining Center to follow.

Father Fog delivers the Homily at the Cardinal Newman Mass.

Thursday evening, students dawned their Jet gear and ’80s attire and headed to the games.

“Homecoming week is a great way to come together as a school and show our Jet pride,” said senior Sara Crook. “I especially enjoy singing the national anthem with my Troubadour choir family and then getting to watch the game with all my friends.”

During halftime of the women’s game, a half-court shot competition kept the crowd entertained. The women came back from a 10-point deficit in the last three minutes against nationally ranked Lubbock Christian for an exciting win. Senior Linnea Ristow attended the game with her friends and said, “I loved the energy at the girls’ game because the score was so close at the end.”

(l to r) Students Sara Crook, Ximena Name, Linnea Ristow and Annie Dang attend the Homecoming games.

During halftime of the men’s game, the Homecoming court was announced. The Homecoming queen candidates included Yemima Buana, Regan Casey, Briana Marin, Quincy Plank and Swati Tamrakar. The king candidates included Vincent Couto, Anthony Hammersky, Anthony Navarette, Paul Rupnik and Brandon Steiner.

Homecoming court:
(front l to r) Paul Rupnik, king, and Quincy Plank, queen
(back l to r) Anthony Hammersky and Regan Casey, Brandon Steiner and Yemima Buana, Vince Couto and Briana Marin, Swati Tamrakar and Anthony Navarette.

The 2019 Homecoming king and queen were Paul Rupnik and Quincy Plank. Rupnik is on the baseball team and Plank is on the women’s soccer team. Both are highly involved in campus activities.

Homecoming king and queen Paul Rupnik & Quincy Plank.

This year, students enjoyed a Homecoming after-party with a live DJ and drinks. It was a highlight for many.

“Last year I was extremely upset when I heard that there would not be a Homecoming dance and was so glad that they brought it back,” said Crook.

Schneikert-Luebbe enjoyed seeing so much Jet pride at each event. She said, “I loved watching our students be together to celebrate their Homecoming in a way that was important to them. My hat is off to the entire village of people it takes to coordinate a week of Homecoming activities. Knowing the students participated and enjoyed it underscores why I got into this profession and why I remain.”

Shepard added, “I would say my favorite part would have to be seeing our students enjoy themselves at the Homecoming after-party. It is important that we continue to enhance our student life on campus and contribute to an atmosphere where our students can be their authentic selves in a safe and secure environment.”

Senior Ximena Name enjoyed the week as a student and as a member of CAB who helped with many of the events throughout the week.

“My favorite thing about homecoming week is that there was something going on every day and that was very exciting,” Name said. “I really like when things are happening on campus and other students get together to have a good time.”