Preparing for the University of Illinois Homecoming

Story By: Colleen Cavanagh

Homecoming week and weekend are always major events that take much planning during the Fall at the University of Illinois.

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Events such as the Homecoming Pep Rally, Parade and Bags Tournament are exciting and highly anticipated here at U of I. While these events are fun and most always have a great turn-out, they are not planned by themselves. Much work goes into planning each event, while ensuring the campus is kept safe with the major influx of people around campus during Homecoming.

Gabriella Riccio, of Greeks Support Homecoming, deals with the Public Relations portion of Homecoming Week. On top of getting word out about different Homecoming events, she is also in charge of posting photos, videos and blogs during and after each event. While she has enjoyed her time as director of P.R. this year, she explains it has been extremely busy and stressful within the last few weeks. She is looking forward to Saturday, as many of her responsibilities will be done and she will be able to enjoy the game.

Riccio explained that the many planned activities are directed at students in order to keep them busy and out of trouble. She says that when there is too much down-time on anticipated weekends such as Homecoming, many students tend to get themselves into situations they shouldn’t be in, which leads to them getting in trouble.

University Police Captain Roy Acree agrees with Riccio in that this week has been stressful and has added much work to his normal duties. “No comp. time or vacation time are allowed on this particular weekend, due to the number of activities we have to cover,” he explains. He went on to say that many officers will be working sixteen-hour shifts, which is the maximum amount of time and officer is allowed to be on duty.

Risk Management across the University is a major issue, especially on busy weekends such as Homecoming. Leanna Barcelona, Panhellenic’s VP of Risk Management, explains that all she wants are her peers to be safe, especially with the increased police presence on campus during Homecoming weekend. She agrees with Riccio in that Panhellenic’s partnership with Greeks Support Homecoming is aimed at Greek and non-Greek students alike in order to provide students fun and exciting sober activities.

All-in-all, Riccio, Cpt. Acree and Barcelona agree that students should be safe during Homecoming week, and should stay busy with many of the pre-planned activities. Acree reminds students: “Remember that this is a marathon, it’s not a sprint…Take your time, pay attention to what’s going on around you, pay attention to your friends.”

Check out just how prepared these three Homecoming contributors are for Homecoming here in my audio package!

Below is the script for my audio package:

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Reflection

I really enjoyed doing the audio package. Picking a topic was a bit difficult for me, but seeing that Homecoming was right around the corner, I figured it would be a good start. I originally wanted to focus mostly on the events surrounding Homecoming week, but as my story developed and I had to pick and choose who I wanted to interview, my story became more focused on the safety and risk preparations in regard to Homecoming. I believe the focus on the safety of students greatly shows the values of the University – it’s not all about fun and publicity, but the administration truly does care about the safety of its students.

Scheduling my interviews got a bit stressful when it became a time crunch (because I procrastinated too much), but I got extremely lucky and some of the interviews I didn’t think were going to pull through ended up happening.

Overall, I am happy with my project and greatly enjoyed playing around with the audio, as this was something I had never experimented with without video corresponding with the sound.

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