Homecoming week is fast approaching from Oct. 10- Oct.16 through Oct. 16 with events planned including a parade, games, Saluki Royalty and a homecoming dance.
Carly Holtkamp, assistant director of the Student Programming Council, said Chancellor Austin Lane held off on finalizing homecoming festivities later than usual due to COVID-19 concerns.
“It is a little different this year,”Holtkamp said. “Typically we would have a full committee with people from the city all over campus.”
With the late decision to have homecoming, student programming had little time to put everything together unlike if they planned at the regular time in January , Hotlkamp said.
One of the new things Southern Illinois University is bringing to homecoming week is a name change of “Homecoming King” and “Homecoming Queen” to “Saluki Royalty” to account for gender inclusivity.
“We’re not doing the traditional king and queen so anybody can apply,” Holtkamp said. “We’ll find ten of the best students, and let students vote on who they think should be crowned Saluki Royalty, and go from there.”
Executive Director of Student Programming and President of Beta Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Kevin Turner said he is working with the group while planning his fraternity’s events for homecoming week, which they call Alpha week.
The Alphas host the annual Miss Eboness pageant, and a step show.
The Miss Eboness pageant started in 1972 at a homecoming when Hazel Scott, a Black woman, wasn’t given the proper recognition she deserved, Turner said.
“Because of that we started a pageant just for Black women,” Turner said. “To highlight their intellect, their style, and place their intelligence, and give them a platform to stand on.”
Turner said the pageant includes events from learning the contestant’s background and life goals to showing any talents they have.
And for the winner, a scholarship with a minimum of $500 depending on how much the fraternity could raise.
The Alphas step show gives freshmen and new incoming students an insight into Greek
life Turner said.
“That’s the one event we bring. All fraternities and sororities,dance teams, people across the nation, actually get invited,” Turner said.
It will be a student-only event. Tickets cost $10, and there will be no alcohol and drugs allowed, Turner said.
The biggest new event being introduced is the homecoming dance, which will be a Sneaker Ball.
Undergraduate Student Government President Isaiah Overton said troubles with other events led to the idea of having an actual homecoming dance.
“I began meeting with students coming to make sure that they actually wanted the event,” Overton said. “ All students were pretty much receptive to it.”
The dance will be free and held in the student center ballrooms with a capacity of 850 students, Overton said.
“You still wear that formal kind of party wear that you would wear [at] homecoming,” Overton said “Only difference is you got a fresh pair of kicks, and make sure that it coordinates with your outfit.”
Staff reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @jamilahlewis. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.