This past weekend in Stillwater we got to experience a time-honored tradition, homecoming. Here at Oklahoma State, our homecoming is not just any homecoming, it is officially named America’s Greatest Homecoming. Every year thousands upon thousands of alumni, family, and community members come to experience the wonderful things that make our homecoming the best. This Homecoming, many students felt the need to make this one the best Homecoming yet because of a tragedy that struck Homecoming last year. Last year at the Homecoming Parade a woman drove a car past the barricades into the parade and injured many people. We lost some of our Cowboy family that day. But here in Stillwater, we turn to each other in times of need. This crash created the #StillwaterStrong campaign and everyone rallied around each other after the tragedy. So we made this homecoming the best yet, we earned it.
For the students, homecoming begins far ahead of the actual weekend of homecoming. We work nonstop to make campus welcoming to our alumni and visitors. Greeks begin preparing only two weeks after classes begin. Every year for homecoming the Greeks create massive decorations for homecoming corresponding with the overall homecoming theme. These decorations, or “decs”, are constructed of glue, tissue paper (pomp), and chicken wire (as well as blood, sweat, and tears of the 300+ people working on them for approximately eight weeks). And these decs aren’t like your typical homecoming dec. These things are massive.
All of these hours upon hours of pomping begins to come together the Thursday night before Homecoming at All Night Pomp. This is when the Greek chapters are allowed to start hanging up the chicken wire on the metal poles that provide the base for the dec. There is a 24 hour period from when they are permitted to start hanging things to when its hands off and you can no longer mess with your decoration anymore. This leads to everyone staying up all night to get the dec done and make sure it looks right and that everything that may have fallen apart is fixed. And believe me when it all came together… tears were shed.
Friday is when the festivities begin for alumni and other visitors. On average, every year 85,000 people come into town for Walkaround and Homecoming and Hoops. This is when the alum walk around the Greek neighborhood to see all of the beautiful decs. Homecoming and Hoops is an event showcasing the basketball team to the alum and get them excited for basketball season. It is also a pep rally for the Homecoming football game the next day.
Homecoming continued early Saturday morning with the Homecoming Parade at 8:00 am. Many people came out bright and early to see the parade and cheer on everyone participating in it.
After the parade came tailgating and eventually the football game. The stadium was more packed than I have ever seen it before. We played the West Virginia Mountaineers, undefeated up to that point. With the support of our amazing alum and through getting Boone Pickens Stadium fired up, we handed them their first loss of the season. This also gave our football coach his 100th win.
At halftime, they announced the winners of the homecoming competitions and I am proud to say my sorority and our fraternity pairing took third in the house dec competition (which is pretty amazing).
All in all, Homecoming is one of the best events of the year and I’m so blessed to go to such an amazing school and be a part of America’s Greatest Homecoming.