In a change from its usual Saturday night spot, this year’s Homecoming dance will take place on Friday, Oct. 5.
The decision was made by the committee for Homecoming week, which consists of representatives from various departments, including athletics, alumni, facilities and the Student Union Programming Board. The University-wide Homecoming planning committee is headed by director of student activities Lisa Ramsey, assistant director for alumni reunions and student engagement Carla Gall and director of orientation and leadership programs Kyle O’Dell.
Ramsey said the decision was made by the entire committee in the early stages of planning in January. “We also sent out surveys to get student feedback about this change,” she said.
Alise Stawicki, the finance coordinator of the dance, said the fact that Parents’ Weekend and Homecoming are on the same weekend this year also affected the decision.
“Because of the numerous events that will be taking place [that weekend], the idea of moving the dance to Friday this year seemed like it may be a good idea,” said Stawicki.
According to Ramsey, in the past, there was a “street fair” on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but this year they changed it to a “block party” that runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in hopes of greater student participation. “This change meant that the dance would need to be on Friday in order to accommodate both events,” she said.
While most students did not seem to be affected by the change, some athletes will be unable to attend because of sporting events on Saturday.
Stawicki said, “The only complaints I have heard about the dance being moved to a Friday is from students that are on the football team and from those who may want to run in the ‘Footprints for Fatima’ 5K on Saturday morning.”
While football coach Regis Scafe said that he has not discussed the dance with players, he said, “I have no problem with a football player being at the dance, provided that he is not consuming alcoholic beverages and is home early enough to be in bed by 11 p.m. We have an early morning on game days.”
Scafe said he believes that most players will choose not to attend the dance because of pre-game preparations. Jarrod Killburn, a junior member of the team, said he does not plan to go for this reason.
“Nights before games are all business and a chance to get focused and mentally prepared. Going to a dance would be counterproductive,” he said.
The women’s tennis team has a match scheduled on the night of the dance, as does the men’s hockey team. In addition, several other teams have games on Saturday, which might deter them from attending the dance.
Despite this, the change has not greatly affected ticket sales. “They are selling out just like they have in the past,” she said.
Cassie Pacer, chair of the Homecoming dance committee, said, “There has been mixed feedback with students who do not mind and other students who do mind because ofthe games and meets that will be taking place.”
Junior Kirsten Hagerty said she believes the change is for the better. “I think it’s great that the dance is on a Friday,” she said. “It will be a great way to unwind after a long week of classes.”
According to Ramsey, many of the students who responded to the aforementioned survey liked the idea, “especially since the two weekends could be combined and they could still get to attend the dance and spend time with their families later in the weekend.”
She said that this is the first time in the eight years that she has been at JCU that the dance has been on a Friday.