Homecoming week recap: Cougar spirit endures despite weather
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that approximately 150 students attended last week’s homecoming concert. The actual number of attendees was closer to 750.
Last week, UH hosted several events for Homecoming 2023 which kicked off with a lot of school spirit.
Homecoming signifies the community coming together. Events like Bed Races and Canstruction have been a part of the Homecoming Week celebration for years.
“Homecoming is like getting back to High School again,” said economics junior Dat Nguyen. “It’s the whole week of community activities that bring us all together.”
At the Homecoming Kick-off at the Student Center Plaza, the Homecoming Board along with the Residence Halls Association provided treats like cotton candy and food from Raising Cane’s.
Later that evening, Ada Cinar, Amy Mazariegos, Auyana Aird, Tumi Adeyoju, Caterina Giuliana, Ik Evbayiro, Angel Martinez, Omar Castanon, Austin Craig and Hussein Hoballah were nominated to the 2023 Homecoming Court.
“The kickoff has been really amazing,” said public relations senior Natalia Marinero. “Seeing all the students especially because the timing of the event was off as it’s going on at the same time as a basketball game.”
Bed Races, student performances
The following days witnessed a number of events. From performing skits on the theme “Dream Big, Win Big” at the Strut Your Stuff event to the annual Bed Races.
The Bed Races had fun inflatables and food trucks which were enjoyed by participants as well as those who had come to watch.
UH Hallyu Club’s Kpop dance cover team, Cypher, bagged the prize at Strut Your Stuff. Delta Zeta and Tau Kappa Epsilon won the bed races.
“It was such an unforgettable experience! The teams practiced our hearts out to give a fun and exciting performance and we’re so happy the audience loved it,” said Madison Wickliffe, marketing senior and dancer for Cypher.
Thursday, the Homecoming Board collaborated with the Metropolitan Volunteer Program and organized the event Canstruction, at which the Spirit Teams designed and constructed buildings from food cans.
The cans were later collected and donated locally to the Manna House Third Ward Food Pantry.
“Canstruction helped us in team building and making new connections,” said Alexis Dooley, freshman pre-nursing major, who was competing at the event. “It’s a lot of time management and balance but still everyone is happy and vibrant on the campus.”
Amidst the rain, approximately 750 students gathered in Lynn Eusan Park Thursday night to see Sean Kingston perform at the annual Homecoming concert.
Overall, the performance received a somewhat lukewarm reception from the students in attendance. Still, despite the criticism for some students Sean Kingston’s performance was well worth the time spent in the rain.
“I was very excited to see him coming, so I ended up liking how there were not too many people there,” Lam said. “It was worth getting drenched.”
Others, however, were less impressed with the University’s talent choice. Some students cited the artist’s lack of name recognition and relevance to younger audience as criticism of the show.
“They could have gotten someone that more people know,” said accounting freshman Tajj White. “They could have even gotten another one-hit wonder, but one that Gen Z is more familiar with.”
Kingston rose to fame following the release of his debut single “Beautiful Girls” in 2007 and sustained his success with the 2009 hit “Fire Burning.” Despite launching his fourth studio album in 2022, Kingston hasn’t made an appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart since 2010.
“I was excited for him to perform the three songs I knew, but UH could have gotten someone more recent in today’s music,” said senior entrepreneurship major Erik Pantoja. “The crowd was decent. Obviously, his most popular songs were the loudest, but there were times when it was pretty dead.”
Kingston performed around ten songs, following the opening act, Orion 224, a student-led indie rock band. The crowd noticeably increased in size when Kingston took the stage.
“UH could have honestly chosen a different artist, but Sean Kingston is perfect for college students because we all grew up listening to his songs,” Pantoja said
Spirit cup, philanthropy
The Homecoming Court and the MVP also organized Rock the Campus, which was initially meant to beautify the campus by planting trees, however, due to the weather it was shifted indoors. Instead, the Spirit Teams prepared hygiene care packages with items like tampons, diapers, baby wipes and hand sanitizers.
“We made care packages for families to be donated at a refugee fair,” Landa said. “I think the location change actually benefited us because we had so many supplies and it was easier to manage inside. We made about 300 packages.”
Friday, the Homecoming Court met with President Renu Khator as well.
“We had the opportunity to talk with President Khator for almost an hour,” said Caterina Giuliani, marketing and management senior and Homecoming Queen candidate. “It was fun and we got to know her. It was really inspiring to talk with her.”
After winning best attendance, most cans donated and having the best painted cougar, Alpha Chi Omega took home this year’s Spirit Cup.
Though inclement weather put a bit of a damper on some of the events, this year’s Homecoming week served as a welcome break for students feeling the pressure of finals.
“It was really nice to have a distraction from sitting for hours studying for finals and tests,” said Landa.