However much power school spirit has to bring people together, it became very clear on Saturday evening outside the Bren Events Center that nothing beats free In-N-Out.
Preceding the homecoming men’s basketball game against Cal State Northridge, the 2007 homecoming event gathered students, faculty and alumni for an afternoon of games, prizes, entertainment and, yes, free food.
‘This is the most people I have ever seen [at this event]. It feels really good. So many things about UC Irvine are really coming of age,’ said Emeritus Chancellor Robert Cicerone in between receiving requests from students to take pictures with him. ‘You still don’t hear about this school enough on the East Coast. But out West everyone knows about UCI now. I’ve been running into old students I used to know and some I didn’t know.’
The Homecoming Court contestants were introduced to an energetic crowd that was eager to meet them and take pictures.
Later, during halftime of the men’s basketball game, fourth-year information and computer science major Jeff Fulkerson and fourth-year biological sciences major Emily Yee were announced Homecoming King and Queen.
The family-oriented event offered several forms of entertainment for people of all ages. The children of alumni enjoyed inflatable bounce houses, a rock climbing wall, a bungee jumping machine and a gladiator fighting ring. Triple A even showcased their NASCAR racing simulator.
While families enjoyed food and refreshments, the homecoming festival entertained the crowd with music and dance. House band Blues Racket played jazz and blues tunes in several sets throughout the evening. The UCI Spirit Squad and band also performed, pumping up the audience before the game.
The UCI band continued to play in several sets throughout the night, playing a variety of songs from jazz to popular contemporary music like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
‘We love UCI so much and we are so happy that everyone is here,’ said ’03 alumnus Mat Kladney who graduated as a chemistry major. ‘[I have been] meeting people I haven’t seen in years.’
However, the most popular attraction by far was the free In-N-Out. The line for food extended past the swimming facilities and then wrapped around back to the trucks. ‘It’s actually moving pretty quickly,’ said one community member. ‘I only had to wait 15 minutes.’
In a reunion-like fashion, the most common scene of the evening was alumni recognizing and reconnecting with friends, sometimes after many years.
As the homecoming festivities came to a close, Anteaters of all ages made their way to the Bren Events Center for the basketball game. They continued to celebrate into the evening, particularly with free fries from Jack in the Box, as the men’s basketball team defeated CSUN 75-64.