By: Chuck Moton, Communications & Digital Strategy Committee Member
As Penn Staters, we never really need an excuse to show off our school pride. Especially in recent weeks when seems to be a campus wide rally every time someone whispers, “We Are.” However, there is one thing that makes everyone in State College raise the song more than any other event during the football season. That’s right, I am talking about Homecoming Weekend.
Homecoming is that magical time of year when every student trades in our blue and white for black and pink as we honor the history and future of Dear Old State.
All of the fun begins the evening before the big homecoming football game, as thousands of men, women, and children line the streets of campus and downtown. These people all eagerly await the arrival of the annual Penn State homecoming parade. The parade unites students, alumni, faculty and staff members in a celebration of the actions and achievements of Penn Staters past, present, and future in a creative and vibrant way.
Being a spectator at this extravagant event is truly an incredible experience. However, there are those who know just how amazing it is to actually be in the parade. Jill Kaercher, the THON Family Relations Chair for Penn State Women In Business (WIB) organization, was one if these lucky people this past weekend.
“It was super exciting,” said Kaercher. “Everyone’s eyes were on us. I definitely know what it feels like being a celebrity now.”
With their “Taste of California” themed float, WIB was paired with the Nittany Consulting Group. They danced and sung their way down the entire parade route. Participants even engaged in some beach style games with a few crowd members.
It may sound like all fun and games but being in the homecoming parade can be a very inspirational and profound experience for any fan of Penn State University and all of its great student and alumni run organizations. Kaercher was able to convey just how much the whole experience affected her pride in her organization.
“I felt way more incredible than I thought I would,” Kaercher said. “I got to stand up there and represent hundreds of people from WIB, an organization that’s been around for almost 40 years. It was a very cool experience.”
Once the parade had finished and the crowd dispersed, it was time to get ready for the next morning and the main homecoming event: the Homecoming Football Game. This year our Nittany Lions met the Northwestern Wildcats out on the gridiron. After a rough first half and an even rougher second half, Northwestern managed to beat our boys 29-6.
Despite this minor disappointment, the Penn State pride could still be felt pulsating throughout Beaver Stadium. Now that the NCAA sanctions against the Penn State football team have been lifted, support for our football team has never been more powerful. Even outside of the boisterous student section, Penn State football fans, young and old, were up on their feet singing, dancing and having the time of their lives. A special performance by the incomparable twirler Matt Freedman and the Penn State Alumni Blue Band during half time really got the crowd’s spirits soaring.
And who could forget to mention the couple of the century? Seniors, Kevin Bunce and Kenya Crawford were crowned this year’s Homecoming King and Queen in a quaint little ceremony during the big game.
Homecoming may only come once a year but the preparation and excitement never seem to stop. Penn Staters everywhere are already preparing their floats, banners, and game day spirit for an even better homecoming in 2015.
(Image Credit: Erica Walsh)