UI Homecoming ‘moves tradition forward’ with changes

Homecoming is altering a few of its events and traditions in 2021.


Gabby Drees

A homecoming banner is seen near the University of Iowa Campus Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. (Gabby Drees/The Daily Iowan)

Marandah Mangra-Dutcher, News Reporter

This year, University of Iowa Homecoming is seeking to “move tradition forward” with events like the pep rally, Shout!, the Homecoming parade, and a virtual trivia night.

The UI Homecoming Council will host several events during the week of celebration, some of which will be online, said Campus Events Director Greta Mote.

“[Trivia night is] really great because it’s a wonderful way for our immunocompromised, or just alumni who are far away, or students who are distanced learning still — for them to be involved,” Mote said.

The Shout! pep rally takes place the Thursday before the Homecoming game. This year’s event will begin on the Pentacrest at 7 p.m. on Oct 14.

Shout! is experiencing some changes this year, Mote said. The event was historically a Fraternity and Sorority Life event where members of Greek life would showcase their talents, but Mote said those organizing the event want to shift away from that aspect.

“The feeling of the talent show is kind of the idea that you are being sung at or performed at, and unless you are there to support someone like ‘Hey, that’s my friend,’” Mote said. “…it’s really not that engaging.”

The event’s connection to Greek life will also not look the same, as the Homecoming Council pivots to a more inclusive take on Shout!, Mote said.

“The other issues we are having with it is, obviously, there are some problematic things that are happening in the Greek system, and people don’t want to be associated with that or don’t want to be involved with that,” Mote said. “And we understand.”

The Shout! event has been well attended in the past, Mote said, and the Homecoming Council hopes for the same high turnout this year.

“I would like there to be enough people that the crowd looks filled,” Mote said.

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Homecoming Parade changes

One of the biggest events of the celebratory week is the annual Homecoming Parade.

Adrian Markowski, one of two parade directors, said 85 organizations will participate in this year’s parade. There are four different classes that the entries are placed in, he said.

“The first class is like a traditional trade entry,” Markowski said. “The second class is just walking, there’s no vehicles or anything. Third class is motorized vehicles, those are the ones without floats like a truck, a car. And the fourth is a novelty unit entry. So pretty much that’s like a fire truck, military vehicles, anything that doesn’t really fit into the first three classes.”

There are many factors to consider when processing applications, Markowski said.

“This year, we pretty much accepted everyone just because numbers are low and we want everyone to be included,” Markowski said.

Airiana Mohr, the other parade director, said the entries for the parade are capped at 136 groups.

The parade will see a few changes this year, Mohr said.

“One thing that we are trying to do is we’re trying to implement a live stream service at the moment to reach people who don’t feel safe coming out for this, because we do know that not everyone does,” Mohr said.

Another change that the parade will have, Markowski said, is the addition of gates separating the parade from those in attendance rather than the rope that some may be used to seeing.

“This year, we’re going to have full-on gates, hopefully around the whole parade,” Markowski said. “Just letting people know that you won’t be able to cross the street wherever, there’s only going to be specific locations so just get there on time.”

This was a change specifically aimed to keep parade-goers safe, Mohr said.

“Safety is at the heart of it,” she said. “We had feedback from years past where the rope wasn’t very effective because it’s supposed to help keep people off the street so they’re not too close to the entries.”

Even with changes, Mote said Homecoming, at its heart, is about school spirit.

“Instead of just a couple hours at the football game, it’s a week of appreciating how much we love the Hawkeyes,” Mote said.

Markowski said Homecoming is the time of year people can spread their appreciation for the university.

“Hawkeyes have so much school spirit,” he said, “… but Homecoming just lets them throw it out even more, and it gives them reasons to be proud and to call this university home.”

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