– Point-CounterpointGraphic by Christian Kessler for The Current 2012 ©
Point: Changes in dates are insignificant
The decision to hold Homecoming in February rather than October was a controversial one. However, any backlash is unfounded – change is a part of life, and at the end of the day, all that matters is the end result. The dates may have been changed from previous years, but all facets of a quality Homecoming celebration were present this year. Homecoming Week boasted a number of new and interesting events, giving students something fun to look forward to every day. There were plenty of opportunities for student organizations to get involved and for the student body to have fun and meet new people through physical activities like Sink My Battleship. The purpose of Homecoming is to bring students together and to offer alumni the chance to reconnect with their alma mater. That’s something the university accomplished in previous years, and continued to do so this year as well.
Holding Homecoming in February also sets up apart from other universities, and proves that we, as a university, have a unique identity and aren’t afraid to think outside of the box and try new things. Naysayers are simply overreacting. Those opposed to the change are proving themselves to be entirely too sensitive when it comes to accepting what amounts to minor changes. Did the university still host sports games to center Homecoming events around? Yes. Was there a dinner and dance for students to attend? An election for Homecoming court? An opportunity to stop worrying about classes and grades and jobs and get dressed up to have a little fun? Definitely. Sure, the event could have been snowed out – and in October, there could have been a tornado, or any other random event that can’t be foreseen or prepared for. The fact of the matter is, it could have snowed but it didn’t. The Homecoming dinner and dance went off without a hitch. I don’t know about you, but I’d call that a success.
Counterpoint: Homecoming should have been held in October
Holding Homecoming events in February rather than October will undoubtedly negatively affect attendance.
Homecoming is what helps bring the students together as one during the first semester. It’s an activity that students, especially the freshman, look forward to during the beginning of the year.
The drop-out rate of freshman students for the first semester of college is high, and each year it gets higher. Each new school year, many freshman attend college, but by the second semester, usually around half of those students decide to drop out or transfer. I believe that the attendance rate for Homecoming will rapidly decline compared to last year because of this.
The first semester of school is usually when students are trying to get more involved in different activities and become more social by participating in events around the campus. By the second semester, students are more focused on their grades rather than going out and having fun.
St. Louis is also known for its unpredictable weather. Lately, snow has been a huge issue, to the point where people have been snowed in, unable to leave their homes to attend work or school.
The activities that were scheduled to take place throughout Homecoming week had a higher chance of getting cancelled due to inclement weather. This would not have been something to worry about in October. Even though it is chilly in the fall, snow storm are largely unheard of so there’d be no risk of Homecoming being cancelled due to inclement weather.
The attendance rate of Homecoming events held during October is likely to have been higher than in February due to the weather. The colder it is outside, the less likely students are to attend their classes. This principle applies to campus activities as well. UMSL is a university with a high number of students who commute – during cold weather, students are less likely to make the trek out to participate in campus events. Even if the activities were held inside, it’s likely that students would not enjoy even having to walk to the different buildings around campus in the cold.
The overall idea of change and doing something different is good, but I think that changing the season during which Homecoming is held was not a wise move to make, and will result in a less successful Homecoming season for UMSL.
© The Current 2014