Homecoming kickoff and beyond

ZYRUS WHITEHEAD, Staff Writer

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Crowds of students gathered at Lawther Field to celebrate the start of UNI’s 100th homecoming week at the annual Homecoming Kickoff on Monday, Sept. 30. 

President Mark Nook gave opening remarks about the upcoming homecoming events, even saying he looked forward to participating in the campaniling tradition with his wife on Friday night alongside students.

The kickoff event then began with the annual Pride Cry competition. Student organizations like Camp Adventure, Dance Marathon, Greek organizations and other various on-campus groups competed in a showdown of Panther spirit.

Groups put together a performance that could include a skit, stepping, dancing or singing. They were required to include the UNI Fight Song twice. Each two-minute performance also had to correlate with this year’s homecoming theme, “To UNI and Beyond.” Judges picked three finalists to compete at the pep rally this Friday, where they will select one winning group.

The 2019 UNI homecoming king and queen were crowned at the kickoff, following the royalty competition held last Thursday. This year’s winners were junior math education major Lauren Folck and junior music education major Jonathan Green.

Sarah Rasing, a senior English major, has loved coming to Homecoming Kickoff for four years in a row.

“[This event] really sets the tone of excitement for the week of homecoming,” Rasing said.

She also emphasized the importance of getting involved with homecoming events and celebrations. 

“These events really stick with you when you get to your senior year and beyond,” she said.

The kickoff event was emceed by Ryan Frank, a senior Spanish and social work double-major and Mahlia Brown, a senior psychology major. Frank and Brown also emceed Thursday’s royalty competition and will be doing the same for Friday’s pep rally.

Frank praised homecoming week as a way for students to showcase their creativity integrated with Panther spirit,

“It’s also a really good way to gather students,” Brown said, “just because homecoming is a lot about community and celebrating our university.”

Frank is most looking forward to the Homecoming Parade on Saturday.

“It not only brings together the community of UNI, but also the Cedar Falls community,” he said.

Brown, who serves on the Homecoming Parade Committee alongside Rasing, said she also enjoys the parade because she looks forward to watching people create things that celebrate UNI and seeing how they incorporate each year’s theme.

“There is so much to be done and so much to see and so much to participate in this week, but it’s also important to remember to stay safe,” Brown said. 

Brown and Frank both mentioned that homecoming events set a good precedent for the rest of the year.

“This week sends a message that we are a UNI community and we can come together and celebrate each other and our university,” Frank said. “There’s a lot of value in coming together as a community and continuing to support each other not just through homecoming but supporting our UNI community throughout the whole year.”

More information on upcoming homecoming events is available at homecoming.uni.edu.

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