There is nothing like a college campus on a crisp fall weekend with the chants of “Southern…Utah” wafting from the football stadium that’s covered in a sea of red. Homecoming Week is such a time as Southern Utah University welcomes alumni, parents, families, friends, fans and students for a variety of festivities.
SUU’s annual weeklong Homecoming celebration promises something for everyone, beginning with Miss SUU on Tuesday to the band Hellogoodbye on Friday and culminating on Saturday with the football game against Big Sky peer Portland State University.
The week will start with the monthly Bread & Soup Nite from 5-7 p.m. in the Ballroom located within the Sharwan Smith Student Center. For a large bowl of soup and a side of bread, you only pay $2 plus a donated can of food or $3. All proceeds are given to the University’s HOPE Pantry and Iron County Care and Share.
Directly after the dinner SUUSA will be a screening Monsters University in the Ballroom at 9 p.m., which will be free for all students.
Through out the entire day on Monday, students can get their photo taken at a Photobooth located in the Living Room, also in the Sharwan Smith Student Center, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for free.
Beginning at the Photobooth, students can pick up their sticker cards that can only be filled by attending each Homecoming event. At each event, you’ll receive a stamp and once it’s filled you can return it at the Thunderbird Tailgate Party on Saturday to be entered into a drawing for a big screen TV.
The time honored Miss SUU Pageant will take place at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium. Nine lady T-Birds will prove to the crowd and a panel of judges, made up of community members, alumni and University faculty, who is the most T-Bird True and epitomizes the SUU spirit.
“It’s a chance to be part of a tradition,” said Kelsie Thorton, event director with SUUSA. “We aren’t looking for the prettiest girl on campus, we want a lady that represents everything SUU stands for and experiences more with her education.”
One of the classic SUU Homecoming activities is Powder Puff Football. Taking place at 8 p.m., the game is a time to not only cheer for two teams of 25 Lady T-Birds each battling but to see their peers in a different light, the Eccles Coliseum lights. The first 100 attendees to the game will receive free wings and hot dogs.
The days schedule is thick with Homecoming festivities starting with the 50-Year Club Reception at 5:30 p.m. in the Hunter Conference Center, where each year new members are inducted on the anniversary of the 50th year of their graduation, this year being the Class of 1963.
Another activity that same evening, also hosted by the SUU Alumni Relations, will be the Alumni Awards Banquet. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Gilbert Great Hall located within the Hunter Conference Center. RSVP for both events through the Alumni Relations Office, 435-586-7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get the entire campus pumped for Homecoming will be the SUUSA Pep Rally. Beginning at 8 p.m. in the Centrum Arena, it will be an “outlandishly spirited and full of pyrotechnics and music,” according to Thorton.
After food, music, dancing and a light show, the crowd will follow the football team to a parking lot where a car will be waiting, decorated in PSU colors. All in attendance will be able to take a swing at the doomed vehicle.
With an event description that includes the indie pop band Hellogoodbye, who will begin its tour with rock band Paramore just days after performing for SUU, Friday night will be a festive event that will bring the thunder to campus, Forever Red — in just its third year.
From the buildings to the people, all of campus will be painted red. Come to this free event for food, music and fireworks. Before Hellogoodbye sets the stage at 10 p.m., a capella group The Coats will perform at 7 p.m. and the local Mason Cottam Bands at 8:30 p.m.
And it wouldn’t be Homecoming with a kissing ritual that demonstrates one’s pride in their school and to solidification of a “true” member. At SUU, this tradition is known as “True T-Bird” — a rite of passage that spirited students aspire to every year during Homecoming. Hopefuls gather around the statue of Old Sorrel and at the stroke of midnight, share a kiss to cement their status as a True T-Bird. Student, alumni or otherwise, it’s a good excuse to get a smooch.
With Homecoming in full swing, the last day will begin with the SUUper Sorrel Homecoming 5k at 7:30 a.m. at the Coal Creak Trail hosted by the SUU ROTC and then directly followed by the Pancake Breakfast at 9:30 a.m. at the Alumni House. Pancakes will be served with compliments to SUU Emeriti and the Alumni Association.
The Homecoming Parade will begin at 11 a.m. running down University Boulevard with floats produced by student organizations and local businesses.
Now that your SUU spirit levels are running on high, the Thunderbird Tailgate Party will start the grills at noon at the parking lot east of Eccles Coliseum. Grills will be provided; you just bring the buns and burgers.
The culminating event and at the heart of Homecoming is, of course, football. SUU’s Thunderbirds will take on Portland State University at 2:05 p.m. in the Eccles Coliseum. Current SUU students receive free admission with a valid student I.D. All other fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance, to purchase visit SUU’s Centrum Ticket Office or call 435-586-7872.
Finalizing the week’s festivities will be the Alumni Band Concert at 7:30 p.m. that Saturday evening at the Heritage Theater in downtown Cedar City. This special one-night-only event features members of the SUU Wind Symphony past and present. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for SUU faculty/staff and $3 for youth. SUU students are admitted free with a valid I.D.
These events are just at the surface of the events happening during Homecoming Week 2013. Visit www.suu.edu/alumni/homecoming.html to learn about individual class reunions and other events.