Homecoming 2007: Mason Won’t ‘Fold,’ Even if the Weather Is Cold

Posted: February 12, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Mason fans at Homecoming
Mason fans aren’t shy about showing their spirit – and lots of green and gold – during Homecoming.

By Dave Andrews and Robin Herron

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.

Whatever the weather, Mason celebrates its homecoming – complete with a popular tailgate party – in the winter instead of the fall. The 2007 Homecoming festivities, which are ongoing this week, 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 preceded by the Block Party in Lot K on the Fairfax Campus beginning at 12:30 p.m., although revelers are encouraged to begin staking out their spots at 11:30 a.m. After 12:30, no vehicular access will be permitted to the party area.

fireworks over Mason pond
Setting off fireworks over Mason Pond traditionally caps Homecoming Week each year.

This year, the Block Party will feature several contests, including a blueberry pie contest, a contest for the best decorated block space, and a contest for individuals whose attire shows the most spirit.

After the game, fireworks will be set off over Mason Pond.

“Green ‘N Gold Never Fold”

But all this will follow a week of celebration that offers pageants, dances, concerts, indoor ice skating, competitions and other events centered on the theme, “Green ‘N Gold Never Fold.”

“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,” says Christine Stansell, student Homecoming chair.

The theme could also apply to the hardiness of Mason fans who brave whatever nature happens to toss out that day.

“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.”

Before switching from fall to winter nine years ago, Mason’s Homecoming revolved around soccer – a common practice 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.

block party
The Block Party in Lot K gives the Mason community an opportunity to gather for food, fun and camaraderie before the Homecoming game.
Creative Services photos

Parties and Activities for Everyone

As one of the premier events during homecoming, the Block Party has steadily drawn more and more participation each year. The party drew a sparse crowd in its inaugural year. The following year, the number had significantly increased to approximately 500 participants. Now, with its family-friendly atmosphere and activities, the party attracts thousands.

College Row is a relatively new tradition for the Block Party that 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.”

Other highlights of the Homecoming Week are:

  • A host of special alumni events all week, including a dessert social, happy hour, beer tasting, student leader alumni reception, plus all the events open to everyone. See the Alumni Association’s web site for more information and to register for events.
  • Live music by the Mason Pep Band at noon on Feb. 13, Johnson Center Atrium.
  • Joker’s Night hosted by Adam Ferrara, the annual comedy and talent show, from 9 to 11 p.m. on Feb. 13 in the Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall.
  • Ice skating in the Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall, Feb. 14-17, various hours. See the Homecoming web site for details.
  • Club JC, the Annual Homecoming Dance with a DJ and refreshments, on Feb. 15 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Johnson Center Atrium.
  • The Prince William Campus will have a PlayStation 3 tournament, pep rally with mascot Gunston and a barbecue on Feb. 15.
  • The Arlington Campus will run a special free shuttle from the Arlington Original Building to the Fairfax Campus on game day. Departure times are 11:30 a.m., 1:15 and 2:45 p.m.; return trips are set for 2, 3:45 and 7 p.m.

For more information on Homecoming events, see the web site.

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