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Color it orange: Fountain dyeing outside Edmon Low library kicks off Homecoming week

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The 100th edition of America’s Greatest Homecoming is finally here, and the week-long festivity began with dyeing the Edmon Low Library fountain orange yesterday evening. 

Ariel Scholten, the Executive Director of Homecoming for the Oklahoma State Alumni Association, said the tradition of dyeing the fountain first began in 1999. It has been a staple of the homecoming celebration ever since. 

“We put 72 ounces of dye on the initial pour,” Scholten said. “After that, if it needs to maintain America’s brightest orange, we add more dye throughout the week. The dye itself is food coloring essentially, and we buy it in bulk, specially made for us, so that way it doesn’t stain the fountain marble.”

Although it is a relatively new tradition for homecoming at OSU, the dyeing of the fountain can symbolically be considered as the “lighting of the torch” for the festivities, because it is one of the first official events ushering in the Homecoming week.

“Orange fountain dyeing is one of our official kickoffs of homecoming,” Scholten said. “In conjunction with orange fountain dyeing we also hold our royal coronation there, and so, we have a homecoming royalty court, for both men and women, and we crown the homecoming queen and king.”

Students have been anticipating Homecoming week and the kickoff events all semester, especially students who have never experienced homecoming as a student at OSU. 

Annaleah Hough, a freshman majoring in recreational therapy, is one of those students.

“I think it [the fountain dyeing] is a really cool way to show the spirit of OSU,” Hough said. “My parents are both alumni here, so I’ve always came to homecoming, but I’ve never experienced it as a student. I’m in a sorority and so being able to experience it first-hand is pretty cool.”

Abby Foster, a sophomore majoring in pre-vet animal science, transferred to OSU this semester and like Hough, was equally excited about the fountain dyeing and Homecoming as a whole.

“I think the orange dye in the fountain is pretty cool,” Foster said. “I’m excited because I have no idea what is happening, and since it’s the 100th [celebration], it will be a fun week.”

In addition to the fountain dyeing and the Homecoming royalty announcements, today was also the first day the Homecoming signs were displayed on the library lawn. After a one-year hiatus because of the  COVID-19 pandemic, America’s Greatest Homecoming is back in business.