Homecoming Council strives for inclusivity through new initiatives

This year, the Homecoming Council honors their theme of “From Kinnick to the Kids, 100 Years of Building Tradition” with annual Hawkeye favorites and new, more inclusive initiatives.


Lily Smith

The Old Capitol is seen with the Iowa Homecoming Corn Statue in front on Thursday, October 18, 2018.

Mastura Ibnat, News Reporter

It’s that time of the year again — Iowans treading the fine line between fall and winter and Hawkeyes anticipating new Homecoming events.

Every year, the Homecoming Council decides to center the week on a theme. This year, the council decided to commemorate what would have been Nile Kinnick’s 100th birthday in “From Kinnick to the Kids, 100 Years of Building Tradition.”

“Our goal is to create a week of events based on traditions that can bring us all together as Hawkeyes,” UI Homecoming Executive Director Devin Francis said.

Homecoming adviser Amy White said the council has made an effort to showcase both the rich traditions and new initiatives attached to Homecoming this year through on-campus collaboration to make Homecoming Week a “well-rounded, inclusive celebration.”

The council partnered with the cultural and resource centers, Dance Marathon, University Counseling Service for Fresh Check Day, and University Housing & Dining to honor its message of inclusiveness, White said.

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Third-year student Madhuri Belkale, an assistant director of multicultural initiatives on the Homecoming Council, described more actions taken this year in order to fully involve every Hawkeye in the Homecoming celebrations.

“Today, we are collaborating with Dance Marathon and its Shape Your Impact initiative to spread Hawkeye Spirit at the Children’s Hospital, to honor this theme, and [to bring] something that is near and dear to the hearts of many members of the University of Iowa community,” she said.

White described the pride she felt in her work as an adviser and seeing students on the council work hard to bring back favorite Homecoming traditions while maintaining their new effort of inclusiveness. After nine months of planning, she believes that Homecoming Week has been a success.

“The students work very hard to make Homecoming the success it is, and seeing that come together drenched in black and gold, of course, is the absolute best part,” she said.

Homecoming Week was initiated with a sustainability project and Can-Struction on Sunday.

Monday brought the council’s message of inclusion alive with a Bridging Our World Dedication Ceremony, in which flags from around the world were displayed on the IMU pedestrian bridge, and the second Cultural and Resource Center Block Party.

On Tuesday, the council held a Faculty and Staff Appreciation Lunch.

Ruckus! Highlights from Wednesday include Fresh Check Day with a fair on Hubbard Park, a Black and Gold Bags Tournament, and “Kinnick’s Kids: The Homecoming Edition.” Students were also provided with Homecoming-theme dinner at the residence halls.

The week ended with Iowa Shout, Coronation, and an Improv Show on Thursday.

The Homecoming Council presents favorite Homecoming traditions on Friday: the Homecoming Parade and a concert featuring artist Lizzo.

Though the Homecoming concert is a well-known tradition, Lizzo’s anticipated performance on Friday has caught the attention of some students.

“It’s crazy to think that someone that I love so much is actually coming to Iowa City, and I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to see [Lizzo] for free,” UI freshman Joseph Haggerty said.

First-year student and SCOPE committee member Emma Bohn also described her excitement to attend and orchestrate the action behind the scenes for Lizzo’s performance.

“Lizzo being the Homecoming artist is super exciting for Iowa City, because she voices such strong messages of empowerment and self-love,” she said. “It’s a cool opportunity for everyone in the community to jam out, and Lizzo is the perfect artist to kick off the year with.”