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Welcome home, Billikens

Homecoming: SLU students, alumni, and family participate in the golf-cart parade, one of the many activities held during the weekend.
Elizabeth Scofidio  / Contributor

Homecoming: SLU students, alumni, and family participate in the golf-cart parade, one of the many activities held during the weekend. Elizabeth Scofidio / Contributor

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Homecoming: SLU students, alumni, and family participate in the golf-cart parade, one of the many activities held during the weekend. Elizabeth Scofidio / Contributor

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Homecoming: SLU students, alumni, and family participate in the golf-cart parade, one of the many activities held during the weekend. Elizabeth Scofidio / Contributor

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Homecoming: SLU students, alumni, and family participate in the golf-cart parade, one of the many activities held during the weekend. Elizabeth Scofidio  / Contributor

Homecoming: SLU students, alumni, and family participate in the golf-cart parade, one of the many activities held during the weekend.
Elizabeth Scofidio / Contributor

University draws students, alumni, family

Homecoming and Family Weekend gave visitors to SLU a chance to see a variety of changes, from the new catering on campus to the selection of a new president and staff members. The three major departments involved in the planning of the weekend were Alumni Relations, Billiken Parent Association, and the Student Activities Board (SAB).

The weekend started on Thursday evening, Sept. 25 with the School of Dentistry Alumni Reunion Dinner in the lower level of St. Francis Xavier College Church. However, with multiple concurrent events on Friday, organization was of utmost importance.

“Registration was a little different than previous years as you might have known it,” said Ivy Smith, a student success coach, and one of the first time organizers of the parents’ programming.

Traditionally, two tents are set up, one for alumni and the other for parents. This year, however, the tents were combined.

“By combining those and using iPads to enter information, it made the process that much easier,” said Smith.

Jordan Glaser, a new program coordinator in the Student Involvement Center and Student Activities Board (SAB) advisor, helped plan the student-focused events.

“Right after Fall Welcome, we started towards planning for homecoming,” said Glaser.

Glaser added that homecoming chair, senior Eddie Stephens, was a great help — without whom the planning would have been impossible. For Glaser it was, “a lot to coordinate, but everything went well.”

Friday’s events began with a SAB sponsored blood drive in the Busch Student Center, and concluded with the SAB’s classic outdoor movie showing. This year’s film was Toy Story 3. SAB saw over 130 donors at the blood drive and collected 113 productive units, coming in at 105% of the goal, said Glaser. The movie showing was co-sponsored by the Standard, a residential apartment complex near campus.

Two other notable events on Friday were the Golden Billiken dinner, an annual tradition that honors the 50th reunion class, and a reception for Arts and Sciences alumni from 1964 and earlier.

Saturday’s events began with check in at 7:30 am and with different departments hosting breakfasts and open houses. SAB invited Dr. Dan the Pancake man, a local favorite, to make his artistic pancakes for everyone.

Greek Life organized a family-friendly wiffleball tournament around Midday, from which, all proceeds went to SLU’s Emergency Student Aid Scholarship.

The Golf Cart parade, a tradition for at least 10 years, had a total of 39 entries. It was held at the Lipic Clock Tower Plaza and travelled all the way to Hermann Stadium. Groups such as Athletics and Facilities all had their own cart.

The winner of the Golf Cart parade was the Physical Therapy Council.

“They had choreographed moves,” said Glaser.

Junior Ornella Balley said it was a great opportunity to show the alumni “just a little of what SLU has to offer.”

Another staple of homecoming was the Billiken Soccer game and fireworks at Hermann Stadium.

The men’s soccer team played against Central Arkansas and won 2-0. Senior Robert Kristo celebrated with 2 goals just as he had during homecoming 2012 against the same team.

The fireworks show went without a glitch at halftime. Freshman, Rezarta Skuka, said the fireworks “were really special”  and that she was more excited to see her favorite soccer players on the field.

Sunday morning Mass at College Church concluded the busy Homecoming weekend and allowed everyone to make their own plans.

“Overall, we heard a lot of positive things from parents and alumni” said Smith, “Food was great, the registration was smooth and people said the atmosphere around campus was very positive.”

Smith felt that it good that the administrators and organizers are always listening to suggestions on ways to improve Homecoming.  The best example of this was listening to previous years’ requests of keeping on campus food options accessible throughout the weekend, which was done this year.