Tori Foster, Staff Writer

Last week was the most popular and talked about event around the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus: Homecoming.

On Feb. 20, UMSL kicked off the week of homecoming activities by having a window painting contest on the Millennium Student Center Bridge from 12-5 p.m. Tritons could promote their student organization with friendly school spirit. The window painting contest was judged based on creativity, originality and school spirit. The top three winners for the Red Division were the UMSL cheerleaders, University Program Board and UMSL Catholic Newman Center. The top three winners for the Gold Division were Zeta Tau Alpha-Theta Kappa, Epsilon Xi Chapter of Alpha Xi Delta-UMSL, and UMSL Delta Zeta-Iota Xi Chapter.

On Feb. 21, UMSL hosted their famous “Chili Feed” competition at 11:30 a.m. in the Millennial Student Center Century Rooms. Students and staff members were able to purchase a ticket for this event, but the first 200 individuals received an exclusive homecoming ceramic chili mug courtesy of the marketing and communications department. The competition ended in a tie between “The Best Chili on Earth” made by the College of Business Administration and “Redemption Chili” made by the School of Social Work.

On Thursday night at 5:30, UMSL had their “Pack the Stands” event in the Mark Twain Gymnasium. Over 500 Tritons came out to support our men and women’s basketball teams as they took on the Drury Panthers. The games included free food, giveaways and some friendly competition. Sadly, the women’s and men’s basketball team lost. The women’s final score was 37 to 79 and the men’s final score was 62 to 73. Fortunately, during halftime the announcers announced that the UMSL Chili Feed event raised $1,300.

Our student organizations made creative posters for the “Pack the Stands” event and judges picked out the top three creative spirit sign winners from the Red and Gold Divisions. The top three winners from the Gold Division was Delta Zeta, Zeta Tau Alpha and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. The top three winners from the Red Division was the Triton Health Educators, University Program Board and Cheerleading.

Throughout the day, the Tritons collected cans for the “CANstruction” event for the Triton Pantry and Pagedale Support Center. We were able to raise 4,702 cans Thursday. The “CANstruction” winners from the Gold Division were the Student Athlete Advisory Committee in first place, Zeta Tau Alpha followed up in second place and third place was reward to Delta Zeta. The winners from Red Division were the University Program Board in first place, cheerleading in second place, and third was the Triton Health Educators.

On Feb. 22, UMSL had their Lip Sync Competition at 7 p.m. in the Touhill PAC-Lee Theatre. The Lip Sync battle winner was crowned to the group who had the best moves and performance.

All week UMSL’s offices and departments were encouraged to decorate their space with the Homecoming theme “Rise of Red and Gold.” The winners were chosen based on their creativity and imagination. This year’s first place went to Human Resources, second Pierre Laclede Honors College, and third the College of Nursing.

Finally, it was Saturday, Feb. 23, and the big day was here. The day started with Service Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the MSC where the Tritons volunteered throughout the St. Louis Community and the night ended with the Homecoming dinner and dance.

Homecoming was at the Marriott St. Louis Grand on Washington Avenue from 6:30 to 11 p.m. Students, faculty, staff and alumni had a three-course meal along with some dancing and fun. This year’s 2019 Homecoming Royalty were Amanda Vollmer and Sydni Jackson.

Vollmer, junior, nursing, believes that putting her time into her campaign and planning was her key to success for winning. She explains winning the Homecoming Royalty feels “really good but it is a lot of work. I feel bad that everyone cannot win.” Vollmer won the female candidate vote from the athletics department as they usually submit one woman and one man to represent athletics. As a candidate she was sponsored by SAAC who are the voice for the athletes. Overall, she is happy that she followed through with her commitment and had the chance to experience homecoming royalty. Her plans are to now “branch out more on campus, volunteer for Homecoming Royalty, be a positive image for UMSL, and be an ambassador.”

Jackson, senior, civil engineering and Spanish, believes her key to success was focusing on the small competitions such as placing first in “CANstruction” and the lip sync battle and being tied for crowdfunding. Jackson felt “really excited and honored to represent the UMSL community.” For the past two years she has been actively involved on campus and she stated she “always really enjoyed homecoming week activities and competitions.” During the race, Jackson was representing the University Program Board since she is the executive chair representative for the program. Now that Jackson won this prestigious title as homecoming royalty, she wants to pursue a political career because the campaign gave her a sneak peek of how to run a campaign for political leaders.

Homecoming week is one of the best ways to get involved on campus. Make sure you participate next year!