A slice of the Big Easy will come to Spalding University next week as students celebrate a Mardi Gras-themed Homecoming.
Spalding Homecoming is Saturday, Feb. 3, with a big student and alumni cheering section encouraged to come out to Spalding’s home basketball doubleheader against Eureka. The women’s game tips off at 1 p.m., and the men will follow at 3. A Homecoming dance will start at 9 that night at the College Street Ballroom.
Students who wear Spalding gear and have a valid Spalding ID will be treated to free pizza and drinks.
“We’re hoping to have a big turnout for a pep club for the basketball teams,” said Michaela Patton, president of the Campus Activities Board, which organizes Homecoming.
Between games, this year’s Homecoming Court will be announced, as voted on by the student body. Spalding also has a special announcement planned for that time.
The Homecoming winners will be crowned that night at the Mardi Gras dance (free admission), and other Homecoming Spirit events are planned during the week. (See bottom of the story.)
Online student voting for the Homecoming Court will run Monday through Thursday. The ballot is based off nominations from faculty and staff who wanted to recognize students who work hard in the classroom, are involved with campus activities and represent Spalding positively. Students can vote once.
It’s only the second year Spalding has held a Homecoming week. Patton said adding on-campus social events was a priority for CAB last year, and when students were asked what kind of events they wanted to see, a prom-style Homecoming dance was consistently mentioned.
“We had a sense of involvement but didn’t have what some of the bigger schools had,” she said. “I was really excited about getting the students involved. I think it brought the school together.”
About 150 students attended last year’s dance, and she said it was probably the most well-attended CAB event of last school year. She’s hoping for an even bigger crowd in 2018.
“I’m really excited and honored to bring this tradition to Spalding University,” she said. “It’s a big thing to honor our students who do well, and I think it’s going to be a good thing.”
Spalding Student Engagement Director Anna Foshee said that she is proud of the work CAB has done to create fun, attractive events and enhance campus culture.
“It’s great,” she said. “It’s really important for us to build a campus culture here at Spalding and to create and embrace traditions. (Having a Homecoming) is familiar to people, but it’s new us, and we’ve ‘Spaldingized’ it for us to fit in with (the university’s themes of) inclusiveness, compassion and mission. It’s really cool how it really came about and was really borne out of the students.”
Patton said CAB members have bought “tons” of Mardi Gras beads and other New Orleans-themed decorations. Students can come dressed however they like, but she suggested many will be there in semi-formal attire and have been excited to go shopping and plan their dresses and outfits.
The Spalding Homecoming dance will be a convenient activity for students who live on campus, but Patton, who is a resident assistant at Morrison Hall, also encourages those who live off campus to attend and celebrate the social and community aspects of being a Spalding student.
“It’s all just about being able to let loose and relax, dance, take pictures, eat some food,” she said. “I think it’ll be really fun.”
Spalding Homecoming Spirit Week Schedule
Monday – Pajama Day
Tuesday – Twin Day
Wednesday – Senior Citizen Day
Thursday – Spirit Day
Friday – Flashback Friday
Saturday – Basketball games vs. Eureka (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.) with Homecoming Court unveiled and special Spalding announcement between games; Homecoming Mardi Gras Dance, 9 p.m.