An estimated 82,000 Oklahoma State students and alumni attended Friday night’s homecoming festivities.
That is an attendance record for the school’s oft-proclaimed greatest homecoming tradition in the nation.
OSU’s homecoming tradition officially started in 1920, with the attendance of alumni maxing out at 90. Soon after, the tradition of house decorations began with sorority houses dressing up their front doors.
Today, the occasion has evolved into a weeklong series of competitions ranging from the Legacy Coloring Contest and Football Frenzy to the Chili Cook-Off and house decorations contest. The OSU Alumni Association assembles a handpicked executive team organizes and chooses the competitions and the winners of these competitions.
This year’s Homecoming, themed “The Life, The Legend, The Legacy,” featured jaw-dropping house decoration designs and spirited participation from students and alumni alike. A walk down Hester Street or Greek Row makes the tradition OSU has prided itself on for over 90 years obvious.
The house decoration competition, which begins well before the school year starts, is one of the largest components of the homecoming celebration. Fraternities and sororities that pair up to compete in the contest spend several months coordinating and assembling the final product for the Friday night’s Walkaround.
This year’s winners of the House Decoration Competition were Chi Omega sorority and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. The decoration, which was themed “Individually Unique, Together Complete,” included an image of the character Wyatt Earp from “Tombstone” on a moving screen that opened up into a shadowbox-esque portrait of Boone Pickens Stadium.
Eva Drew, Spanish sophomore and member of Chi Omega, said she was impressed with the result of the decoration and excited about the outcome of the competition.
“The dec had so many moving parts that we started calling it ‘Pomptimous Prime’,” Drew said. “I was really happy when I found out that we won and that all of our hard work paid off.”
Another important aspect of the homecoming traditions is the Library Lawn Sign Competition. The signs, which are placed on the Edmon Low Library Lawn, are used to portray the organizations theme for Homecoming. This year’s Student Organization winner of the Sign Competition was Theta Tau. This year’s Residential Life winner of the Sign Competition was Kamm/Peterson/Friend, and this year’s Greek Life winners of the Sign Competition were Alpha Chi Omega sorority and FarmHouse fraternity.
The Sweepstakes Competition, which is an accumulation of the results of each organization’s performance in the week’s contests, essentially determines the winner of homecoming. This year’s Student Organization winners of the Sweepstakes Competition were the Oklahoma Collegiate Cattleman’s Association and Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlewomen’s Association. This year’s Residential Life winner of the Sweepstakes Competition was Parker Hall. And this year’s Greek Life winners of the Sweepstakes Competition went to Chi Omega and Alpha Gamma Rho.
The homecoming king and queen, who were announced at the halftime ceremonies of Saturday’s Iowa State game, are Riley Pagett and Kylie Roper. According to the OSU Alumni Association, they are official ambassadors for the association and may be called on to represent OSU and the Alumni Association at a variety of OSU and alumni events throughout the year of their reign.
The selection of Homecoming King and Queen, which is taken from a slate of “Top Five” candidates, is based on scholastic excellence, campus activities and a genuine desire to represent OSU and the OSU Alumni Association as an ambassador.
With the week that ended in a 31-10 win over Iowa State and exemplified the spirit of the OSU community finally in the books, students will be able to enjoy returning to the regular, and much slower, school schedule. As for what next year’s homecoming celebration will have in store, OSU will just have to wait.