Newman University’s homecoming week, happening the week of Feb. 17, always brings forth strong traditions and new events to draw in students, faculty, staff, alumni and other members of the community. This year is no exception.
The homecoming planning committee used student input to shape the week’s events.
Director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life Joseph Shepard, who sits on the committee, said, “This year’s homecoming events were all designed by students and I think that it is so important that as we look at shaping the student experience, that we have the most important voice in the room and that is the student’s voice.”
Homecoming week events are as follows:
Monday, Feb. 17 | 5:30-7 p.m. — “Spicy Wings and Spicy Topics“
Miss Kansas Annika Wooton, Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple and Newman’s Men’s Basketball Coach R.J. Allen will be answering some spicy, or tough, questions and some more lighthearted questions presented by the Diversity Round Table Ambassadors.
“I think this is a great opportunity for our students to get to know some of our state and local leaders,” Shepard said.
The event will be held in the Tarcisia Roths, ASC, Alumni Center and free wings will be provided.
Last day to vote for homecoming royalty
One male and one female senior will have the honor of homecoming king and queen bestowed upon them during homecoming week.
The Student Life Office worked diligently to perfect the ideal nomination process, said Shepard.
“It creates space for our students to be recognized, especially our seniors who have been super involved and who have showcased their Jet Pride,” Shepard said.
“We decided to give our students this year more time to vote on the process as well as create more opportunities for students to nominate whoever they felt was deserving of the homecoming royalty piece,” he said.
Students will be able to vote for their king and queen between Feb. 13 and 17. The winners will be announced during halftime of the men’s basketball game Feb. 20 in Fugate Gymnasium.
Tuesday, Feb. 18 | 2-4 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. — St. John Henry Newman High Tea
Newman University’s annual High Tea has a new name. Now known as the St. John Henry Newman High Tea, it is keeping the same practices that make it a Newman tradition. The event will be held at two different times on Tuesday, Feb. 18, from 2-4 p.m. and from 5-7 p.m. Both will take place in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center. Tea and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be provided.
7 p.m. — trivia night
Returning this year due to high demand, the Campus Activities Board will host its annual trivia night event in the Jabara Black Box Theatre. Participants are encouraged to register their teams. Contact Joseph Shepard at [email protected] for more information. Teams will compete for a $200 cash prize.
Wednesday, Feb. 19 | 9 p.m. — homecoming pre-game pep rally
Sporting a new name, the homecoming pre-game pep rally gives students an opportunity to show their Jet Pride.
Junior Katie Sullivan said she likes the interaction between the spirit team and the rest of the student body during the pep rally.
“For me as a member of the spirit team, the pep rally gives us the opportunity to teach the crowd some ways to support the athletes on the court and us on the sidelines,” she said.
Students will have the chance to play minute-to-win-it style games, enter raffles for gift card baskets and enjoy free food.
“We’re going to give away some cool prizes to our students who are engaged and have some Jet Pride,” Shepard said. “We also will introduce our top five homecoming king candidates and our top five homecoming queen candidates, so our students can get to know them even better.”
Thursday, Feb. 20 | 11 a.m. — St. John Henry Newman Mass
The traditions will continue with the annual St. John Henry Newman Mass, which will be held in St. John’s Chapel. There is a shortened class schedule for this morning to accommodate the Mass:
- 8-9:15 a.m. classes will be held 8-8:50 a.m.
- 9:25-10:40 a.m. classes will be held 9-9:50 a.m.
- 10:50 a.m.-12:05 p.m. classes will be held 10-10:50 a.m.
Assistant Director of Campus Ministry Emily Simon said this is a unique situation.
“There are only really two Masses that they make that exception for during the year, so it is kind of a big deal. Everyone is kind of looking for that one event that everyone can actually attend and this is it,” she said. “Having a full chapel for that day is really invigorating and kind of reminds you that we have such a big community here and that we have the time and have the occasion we can come together for a really special event.”
Sophomore Cale Kerschen said this Mass carries more meaning now that Cardinal Newman is a saint.
“You’re celebrating your namesake and his accomplishments that he did throughout his entire life and the results of his accomplishments are that he is enjoying his sainthood in heaven,” he said.
A lunch will follow the mass in Mabee Dining Center.
Homecoming games vs. Emporia State — women at 5:30 p.m., men at 7:30 p.m.
As students enter Gorges Atrium, they will be treated to a dessert bar and red homecoming shirts designed by student Kayla Garvert. Athletic Director Joanna Pryor said that basketball has been a consistent part of homecoming throughout the years.
“Homecoming is an opportunity to welcome back alumni of the university. It generally coincides with a football game, but we do not have football,” she said. “Basketball gives an indoor venue to create a homecoming atmosphere.”
Women’s basketball player and junior Haley Albers said the homecoming game is a unique experience.
“Playing the homecoming game is special because we get a really good crowd out, so it’s fun to play in that atmosphere and to have students and faculty come see what we’re about and experience Newman Jets basketball,” she said.
Senior men’s basketball player Anthony Harvey Jr. said there is nothing like playing during homecoming.
“There are so many good, positive vibes during homecoming week, and it translates to the game because with the support of the students that come for the king and queen announcements, the atmosphere is that much better,” he said.
At halftime of the women’s basketball game, a prominent scholarship will be presented to a future Jet.
“It is really important for us to highlight again not only our current students but the future generation of Newman University as well,” Shepard said.
The homecoming king and queen will be announced during halftime of the men’s game.
10 p.m. — post-game afterparty
After hearing feedback that students enjoyed the homecoming afterparty last year, the Student Life office has decided to bring the event back this year.
Held in Jabara Black Box Theatre, the afterparty will feature free food, a DJ and drinks for those of age.
The event is open to both Newman and non-Newman students. Presale tickets are available now through Friday, Feb. 14. They can be purchased in the Student Life office at the cost of $5 for Newman students and $8 for non-Newman students.
Friday, Feb. 21 | 8:30 a.m. — Jet Friday
Rounding out this year’s homecoming is a well-loved Newman tradition: Jet Friday.
Junior Murphy Obershaw said she particularly likes the fellowship aspect of Jet Friday.
“Donuts are always a good time, and it is nice assembling everyone on Friday. It’s not just students, faculty and staff go too, like Father Adam is there every Friday talking with people,” she said. “Even if you are just passing through, you can still say hey to some people. It’s our campus tradition that everyone can be apart of.”
Free donuts and coffee will be provided in the Fugate Student Center, sponsored by Student Life.