This past weekend marked the third annual homecoming for UNC Charlotte’s football team. It was also arguably the most successful, with students and alumni proving that they are more than willing to come out and support their school.
UNC Charlotte’s school spirit has been steadily growing since the Board of Trustees officially voted in the football program in the fall 2008. For the past three years, since the football team started playing, the homecoming weekend garnered an increasing amount of attention.
In the past, UNC Charlotte has been considered a commuter school, and with its lack of a football team, at times the school spirit was not very strong.
This year, however, the homecoming committee went to exceeding lengths to strengthen that spirit and rev up students’ enthusiasm and participation.
The week prior to homecoming weekend, the Homecoming Committee organized different events throughout the week to show school spirit and advertise the homecoming weekend.
Monday was the Homecoming Pep Rally. On Tuesday, Niner Idol was held, a singing competition, winners of which get to open for the spring concert act. On Wednesday, which was Service Day, besides wearing green, the homecoming committee also collected canned goods for those in need.
Friday, the biggest night of them all, was kicked off by the Homecoming Lights Parade. Starting at 6:30 p.m. at UNC Charlotte’s Parking Lot 5, it made its way around the university, with a string of floats illuminating the campus with an array of lights.
The motto of the parade was, “Welcome to the mine!”
Student organizations, community organizations, departments and businesses were all invited to participate. For the first time this year, stations were set up so that guests would have a comfortable view of the lights parade.
“We have had great participation to all of our events this year. Each event has had a full house and the parade had a large amount of student organization participation,” said Taylor Paisley, external marketing chair for the homecoming committee.
The next day, prior to the football game between Charlotte 49ers and Southern Mississippi, the Tailgate Village was held in the Hauser Alumni Pavilion.
The tailgate included brunch food, alcoholic beverages and gave out a substantial amount of promotional items – including Niner hats, T-shirts and rally towels.
“Essentially most of our promo items were handed out, especially the T-shirts, which shows people’s interest in the game and our school spirit, which is exciting,” said Paisley in regards to the tailgating event.
It seems that the effort put into the Homecoming Weekend by the Homecoming Committee was not wasted.
Many students, faculty and alumni came out and showed mass support for UNC Charlotte.
Paisley explains how important the large turnout is for the future of the football team and university pride in general.
“Now that we have seen that students are willing to come out and support [the school], the next committee will be able to capitalize on this and have a strong foundation to build upon in future years. This homecoming was truly great and I know it will only grow from here,” said Paisley.
The Homecoming Court King and Queen were announced during the halftime of football game against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles Oct. 24.
Anthony Tapp was crowned as the 2015 Homecoming King and Christian Pridgen was crowned as Homecoming Queen.
Photos by Chris Crews.