Previewing Homecoming

Homecoming has a common purpose shared for people of all ages and schools: to welcome back. What sets university homecomings apart from high school ones, however, is that the former is all about commemorating the university. In our case, it’s all about celebrating the progress that UCI has experienced since its emergence nearly 50 years ago, as well as the multiple generations of Anteaters who spent their time here. That being said, Homecoming isn’t an event exclusive to current enrolled students; you can expect to see Anteaters new and old, all here to celebrate UCI.

Leading up to the 2012 Homecoming Street Festival on Jan. 28, UCI will hold a Homecoming court competition each day over the course of five days, from Jan. 23 to 27. Each contest takes place from noon to 1 p.m. at the Student Center Terrace.

Didn’t catch the Rose Parade earlier this month? Hopefully you attended Monday’s Homecoming Court Parade, where each member of the court decorated a small float and subsequently either pushed, drove or rode it from the flagpoles to the Student Center.

There won’t be cannibalism, nor will Adam Richman be there, but that’s no reason to check out Maneater vs. Food on Tuesday. The contest follows the same format as “Man v. Food,” and the results should be just as glorious.

For those of you who are too poor to attend the Olympic Games in London this summer, check out the Anteater Olympics on Wednesday to see one’s athleticism be tested.

Maya Angelou once wrote, “Words mean more than what is said on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.” You can witness her words become truth on Thursday with UCI Speaks, a spoken word competition.

Let’s face it: Chances are, most of you won’t even know who the Homecoming King and Queen candidates are. To see for yourself who is the most worthy to be crowned and thus deserves your vote, it won’t hurt to attend Friday’s Talent Show.

After five days of what looks to be ridiculous fun, you’d better be ready for Saturday’s Homecoming Street Festival. From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Mesa Road expects to be packed with a swarm of Anteaters as they celebrate their university.

It’s certainly not a festivity if there’s no noise or, at the very least, music. A student DJ will be blasting music throughout the entire afternoon, but he’s not the only one delivering musical notes. Business administration major Timothy Ketenjian, a soloist who will be performing at Soulstice on Feb. 10, will grace the festival with his presence. In addition, alumnus Emmercelle DeLeon and Clair De Lune, the Soulstice a capella group, will appear as well. The biggest attraction is a Frank Sinatra cover act by a non-student –– we’ll see if his voice does justice to the famed singer.

Complementing the music and fulfilling their duty to keep spirits at an all-time high that day are MCIA, the UCI Spirit Squad and Pep Band. Dance moves, chants and cheers are expected to spread like wildfire. Also there to spread the fun is a booth with caricature artists, where two balloon artists, a unicyclist and a stilt walker will perform.

Of course, showing off UCI’s community and history, and representing the population of Anteaters young and old, past and present, are the booths by the university’s various schools, the Bookstore, Athletics, Alumni Chapter and many more. There will also be a Greek Village, where the Greek Houses will also have booths set up.

Food stands and trucks will be there to satiate the hunger of the student masses. The ever-so-popular Kogi BBQ will be stationed near the Bren Events Center with two other trucks that have been featured on the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race”: Seabirds and Crepes Bonaparte. If you’re of age and feeling thirsty, don’t forget to drop by the beer garden.

The day isn’t over at 5 p.m., though. Not by a long shot. Attendees should file into the Bren Events Center when the clock strikes five to support the UCI’s men’s basketball team as they challenge UC Riverside. At halftime, the Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned. After the game, Mesa Road will be subject to an after-dance party.

Homecoming isn’t merely a time of fun and games, nor is it just a means of welcoming both current students and alumni back. It’s a time to celebrate UCI and to embrace the fact that we all were, are and will always be Anteaters. Let’s make ourselves and the university proud. Zot zot!