Mason’s 2007 Homecoming Week Kicks Off Sunday
Posted: February 6, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By Dave Andrews
At a time of year when many universities across the nation are simply trying to stay warm, Mason cues up the band, lights up the barbeque and sends up the fireworks.
Unlike most universities, Mason celebrates its homecoming in the winter instead of the fall. The 2007 Homecoming festivities begin Sunday, Feb. 11, when the women’s basketball team tips off against Hofstra University at 2 p.m. at the Patriot Center.
After a week of revelry including pageants, dances, concerts, ice skating and competitions, Homecoming will culminate on Saturday, Feb. 17, with the Mason men’s 2007 O’Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters basketball game. The Patriots will play against Kent State University at the Patriot Center at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN360, ESPN’s broadband service available through certain Internet providers.
In addition, the Prince William and Arlington Campuses will be hosting a number of events between Monday, Feb. 12, and Thurs., Feb. 15. These events include a PlayStation 3 tournament, pep rally with mascot Gunston and a barbecue.
The Homecoming Committee decided on this year’s theme, “Green ‘N Gold Never Fold,” after more than one month of deliberation.
“We looked at many themes and talked about the positive and negative aspects of each one,” says Christine Stansell, student Homecoming chair. “We felt that “Green ‘N Gold Never Fold” illustrates how Mason never gives up and also plays on the basketball team’s good fortune during last year’s Final Four.”
Before switching from fall to winter nine years ago, Mason’s Homecoming revolved around soccer – common among schools without football programs. Homecoming Committee members then recognized an opportunity to increase campus participation by giving clubs and organizations the additional time to coordinate and connect with one another. Soon after, the change to basketball was made.
“Weather is always a big factor,” says Alissa Karton, co-chair of the university-wide Homecoming Committee, “but even in past years when it was pretty wet or snowy, we had a great time and a good turnout. We expect that trend will continue.”
As one of the premier events during homecoming, the block party has steadily drawn more and more participation each year. The block party will take place this year in parking lot K beginning three and a half hours before the men’s basketball game, and will feature competitions, a barbecue, a family-friendly area with activities for kids and a chance to catch up with fellow Patriot fans. The Mason tradition of sending up fireworks over Mason Pond will finish off the Homecoming celebration that evening.
College Row has established itself over the last four years as a means of outreaching and networking for the academic units at Mason. Each department is given an area where alumni and students can interact with department representatives.
“[College Row] is something that really sets our homecoming apart from the rest,” says Christine Clark-Talley, associate vice president for alumni affairs. “As it has grown, the different units have become increasingly devoted, and they’ve embraced it as a way to meet the needs of alumni and prospective students.”
The block party drew a sparse crowd in its inaugural year. The following year, the number had significantly increased to approximately 500 participants. Attendance has now grown into the thousands.
For more information on Homecoming events, see the web site.