– Hundreds attend UMSL’s 2014 Homecoming despite move to winterPHOTO: The ballroom was filled for the Homecoming Dinner and Dance on February 8 at Union Station. Photo by Kat Riddler, Copy Editor for The Current 2014 ©
By Kathleen “Kat” Riddler, Copy Editor for The Current
The winter University of Missouri—St. Louis Homecoming Dinner and Dance was held on February 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Union Station Hotel in Downtown St. Louis. The event ballroom was filled with students, faculty, and alumni enjoying a catered three course meal, photo booth, and dance floor. A cocktail reception was held in the lobby of Union Station while waiting for the ballroom to be ready to seat.
UMSL’s first Homecoming dance was held on February 1, 1963 and was accompanied by a basketball game. In 1974, the traditional event changed from February to October and accompanied a soccer game. This year marks the first year that Homecoming has been held in February since 1974. This was also the first year that the Homecoming committee asked for donations from departments and sponsors. The committee raised $10,000 from its 19 sponsors and created a beautiful setting for this year’s dance while helping to keep the cost reasonable for participants.
The room was decorated in UMSL red and gold to match this year’s theme of “Forever Red and Gold.” Colored balloon columns were placed along the walls and a coinciding balloon arch was placed on stage. Students checked in at the front table to receive dinner tickets and find their seats on the chart of tables. Students could not enter until close to 7 p.m., but were greeted with salads, desert, and water at their seats to get started right away. Once the whole table was done with their salad course, the plates were promptly taken away by the friendly staff and the attendees were brought whichever hot meal that they preferred: chicken, beef, or vegan. Once finished with the delicious dinner course, guests were able to enjoy one of two deserts placed at their table: turtle cheesecake or chocolate fudge and nut cake.
“The best part of homecoming was the food, especially the cake,” said Haley Cole, senior, psychology.
Once most of the room were finished with their meals, the evening’s ceremony began. The Homecoming Spirit Award for a student organization was given to Delta Zeta. Of the 17 participating offices and campus departments, the Information Technology Services Office won the award for decorations in their office. The big event of the Homecoming program was the coronation of the Homecoming King and Queen. Homecoming King went to Adam Delgado, junior, liberal studies, and Homecoming Queen went to Marissa Steimel, senior, communications.
“I knew there was some tough competition, so I was surprised when I won,” Steimel said.
These two ran together as candidates with the slogan “Short for the Court” and used social media to garner votes.
“We spent the entire week using #ShortForTheCourt all over social media and it caught a lot of people’s attention,” Steimel said. “Several people told me they voted for us immediately after seeing our slogan because it made them laugh.”
After the ceremony and King and Queen dance, there was an open dance and an opportunity for attendees to grab pictures with fun props at a photo booth. People danced to a variety of music and were even entertained by an impromptu dance-off competition. The DJ asked the audience to form a circle and have performers dance to a classic Michael Jackson song.
“I definitely cannot choose a favorite moment, there were just too many,” Steimel said.
Asked how Homecoming could be improved, Cole said, “It could be better if there was a competition between the departments, like a faculty-student dance off.”
Changing the date back to February from October did not seem to hinder the event at all. The Homecoming Dinner and Dance were a big hit and participants were seen with smiles throughout the night.
© The Current 2014