Panthers get ready to growl and groove

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  • A student enjoys pizza at last year’s Homecoming pep rally hosted by the Campus Activities Board (CAB). This year, CAB will host a Homecoming dance party at the Campanile Plaza from 9 p.m. – 11:45 p.m. before campaniling on Oct. 7.

  • “Blame it on the Boogie” as you celebrate UNI’s 70s-themed homecoming.

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“That ‘70s HOCO” brings week of festivities

On UNI’s campus, Homecoming festivities are in full swing. Decked out in a groovy 70’s theme, offices around campus show their panther pride in a diverse way. Although homecoming week is halfway over, students and alumni alike still have a wide array of activities to get involved in and traditions to take part in. Heather Harbach, Ph.D., UNI’s Vice President of Student Life, sat down to discuss all things homecoming and community this week. 

“Homecoming brings a sense of connection to the communities on campus. It brings a certain energy and excitement within our common community,” she said.

 Especially with the Verdin Company bell foundry being on campus, UNI’s Homecoming brings another layer of excitement. 

The bell foundry will be on campus both Thursday and Friday to cast new bells for UNI’s beloved Campanile. An ingot passing will be held so students can touch the metals that will be put into the bells, as well as being present for the casting of the bells Friday night. 

“This is something really special, these bells will live on for years and years to come, and long beyond their time at our institution, students get to be a part of UNI’s future,” Harbach said. Thursday’s Homecoming events will include a University Picnic on Lawther Field from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., a Carillon performance with the Campanile at 12:30 p.m., and UNI’s Women’s Soccer Team vs. Drake at 3:00 p.m.

Friday is chock-full of UNI traditions and Homecoming celebrations, giving students and alumni every opportunity to celebrate UNI. “So many big things happen in a short amount of time, when you can look back and reflect, at the time it may not have thought about it, but reflection brings gratitude,” Harbach said. 

Panther Friday encourages UNI students and alumni to show their Panther Pride by wearing their purple and gold. Friday’s festivities also include another Carillon performance at 10 a.m., and an Anthropology Dig Open House from noon – 2 p.m. in the south part of campus near the observatory. The Our Tomorrow Exhibition will be open in Rod Library from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and student organization golf cart decoration for Saturday’s parade from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. downtown. Later that night, the UNI Swimming & Diving Team will host their Homecoming meet, and UNI’s Volleyball team will face off against Bradley. The Our Tomorrow Campaign Celebration including live music from Micahel Cavanaugh and special guest Kurt Warner from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Campanile Plaza. Following the Our Tomorrow celebration will be a Homecoming dance party at the Campanile Plaza from 9 p.m. – 11:45 p.m., and immediately following is UNI’s long-standing Campaniling tradition at midnight. 

Going into Saturday’s celebrations, Harbach discussed how important it is for UNI as a community to be able to celebrate together. “We want people to have a fun experience and celebrate a community that hasn’t been able to be around each other. There’s something for everyone, students and alumni,” she said. 

Saturday’s Homecoming events include the Homecoming 5k Run/Walk at 8 a.m. at 2700 Campus Street, followed by the Homecoming Parade downtown at 10 a.m., with special guest Kurt Warner. The Men’s Soccer Club will face off against St. Thomas at 1 p.m. on the fields west of the Dome. The UNI Football team will take on Illinois State’s Redbirds in the Dome at 4 p.m., and the UNI Volleyball team will follow suit at 7 p.m. 

“Homecoming is truly a celebration of the past, present and future. This year is a really intentional celebration, with the launching of Our Tomorrow and the bell foundry,” Harbach said.

She also emphasized the importance of community and how students and alumni can celebrate UNI this week, saying, “What I always tell students is take advantage of it, there are so many things to do, put yourself out there and see what it’s like. Don’t miss out, join the fun; it’s truly a special time of year.”