The fierce competition among fraternities and sororities is one of many traditions that adds to the thrill of Homecoming.
Although the Homecoming spotlight is often on Greek students, they are not alone in their spirit.
There are three divisions in the Homecoming competition: Greeks, organizations and residence halls, says Lynette Reed, Homecoming tri-director.
“Anyone that wants to can participate,” Reed says. “(Residence halls and student organizations) can participate in as many activities as they want, although they typically don’t participate in all of them.”
Student organizations and residence halls compete for points, just as fraternities and sororities do. After the week ends, each division’s winners are announced.
Drew Elmore, Alumni Association Student Board Homecoming liaison, says fraternities and sororities typically have more resources, people and money than non-Greek organizations and residence halls, which allows them to participate in more activities.
Scott Parker, Engineering Student Council president, says money is indeed an issue for his organization.
“We are constrained by a budget, so we have to pick and choose what we participate in,” he says.
Engineering Student Council is participating in Homecoming for the first time this year.
“Homecoming is something student organizations are just starting to get involved in,” Parker says. “We want to be one of the first to do so.”
The Alumni Association Student Board is a veteran homecoming participant.
“One part of the mission of AASB is to uphold the traditions of the university,” Elmore says. “Homecoming is one of our best traditions since it was created here.”
Organizations and residence halls can participate in the same Homecoming events as fraternities and sororities can, and even have additional events: a banner competition and a residence hall barbecue.
Some residence halls plan to display their banners at the residence hall barbecue. The theme for this year’s barbecue is “Fearless World, Fearless Taste,” says Jamie Nadolny, a community adviser in Johnston Hall and one of last year’s homecoming liaisons.
Nadolny says the halls are judged in four categories: food, banner, atmosphere and attendance.
Despite these activities that are solely for residence halls and non-Greek organizations, some students still consider Homecoming a Greek event.
“I’m not sure that view is changing, but the reality is changing,” Parker says. “Once you start going to (Homecoming) Steering Committee meetings, you realize that they want to get more people involved, and are making an effort to get them involved.”
Reed says that participation in Homecoming is an established tradition for fraternities and sororities, but that student organizations and residence halls have not reached that level of involvement.
“Through Greek organizations, they have older people telling them how it’s been done, and they’re having that tradition passed down,” she says. “I think that’s where we lose the participation of organizations and residence halls.”
Many students who participate in Homecoming through their residence halls or organizations are also members of fraternities or sororities. But they don’t have to choose one over the other; instead, a student can count Homecoming participation toward one group in each division.
“A lot of people at the blood drive think, ‘I’m already giving for my (sorority or fraternity),’” says Emily Stuart, president of the Hatch Hall Council. “But really, they can give for their residence hall, too.”
Elmore says about half of the members of AASB belong to fraternities or sororities, but that AASB requires much less work for Homecoming than Greek organizations do.
“As far as non-Greek organizations go, you don’t have to put a lot of effort into it,” Elmore says. “We don’t have to pomp and stuff like that. The most labor-intensive thing we do is the banner, which takes about six hours on a Saturday.”
Although non-Greek organizations and residence halls might not have to put as much time into Homecoming as fraternities and sororities do, their continuing participation each year showcases their MU spirit.
“It’s kind of hard to change a 90-plus-year-old tradition supported by the Greek community,” Elmore says. “But the Steering Committee is doing a good job getting non-Greek organizations involved. And the organizations themselves are doing a good job getting involved.”