Slippery Rock University has been hosting a week of events from Monday through Saturday this week in celebration of Homecoming 2020 and the Slippery Rock Community.
Jayne Piskorik, assistant director of fraternity & sorority life and student organizations, has been working with various organizations on campus to bring this community-wide week of events to life. Hosts such as the University Program Board and the Black Action Society worked to adapt their annual events to provide some sense of normalcy to this year’s Homecoming, Piskorik said.
“I think it’s important for the moral of our campus to host a spirited homecoming,” Piskorik said in an emailed statement. “Though it might feel strange, it’s an opportunity to show our Rock Pride and celebrate what we love about campus.”
This year’s Homecoming festivities took the form of both hybrid, online and in-person events spread throughout the week. Though large events such as the Homecoming football game are absent from the 2020 celebration, smaller community-minded events such as Paint the Town and Window Wars remain intact.
“This is an event where organizations volunteer to paint windows on campus and in town to provide a visual representation of homecoming spirit,” Piskorik said. “It was an easy event to incorporate social distancing into.”
That is not to say that all of the classic Homecoming fixtures are not present at all, however, as the Homecoming Court and Friday’s fireworks display will still appear with some alterations. Ballots for the 2020 Homecoming Court were conducted virtually, Piskorik said, but the crowning itself will still take place in person on Saturday.
“We are still doing the crowning of royalty in-person, without an audience,” Piskorik said. “Though it will be missing the energy of the crowd and football game – friends and family can watch the crowning through a live stream.”
Homecoming Committee Chair, Adriana Sykes, explained that the general theme for this year is the Spirit of Slippery Rock. In the aforementioned Paint the Town event, Sykes said that fraternity and sorority members took to Main Street and the SRU campus, adorning storefronts and campus buildings with Slippery Rock icons, such as the beloved Rocky.
“All the community members will get to regularly see that as they drive past, and that makes it really feel like Homecoming,” Sykes said. “Having the paintings on Boozel and the ARC really helps students feel the pride of Slippery Rock.”
Moving such a large celebration to a hybrid format did not come without its fair share of challenges, Piskorik said. Sykes echoed this sentiment, though, adding that not being able to do some events, and as a result not having to plan them at all, did help to simplify things as well.
“We didn’t get to do the football game or hand out any swag or anything like that, but planning was a little less difficult in that we didn’t have to plan those events, so we were able to focus our efforts elsewhere,” Sykes said.
This week’s Homecoming celebrations will wrap up on Saturday with the Homecoming Royalty Announcement and a guest speaker, Nicole Byer, presented by the Black Action Society, the Homecoming Committee and the Office for Student Engagement and Leadership.