Homecoming Week 2016 welcomes old and new students alike

By: Erika Rico, CW, Edward Dave, CW, Jasmine Yamanaka, SSW, Martha Delgado, CW

Monday-Thursday: Chalk the Walk

Lydia Tsou/HIGHLANDER
Lydia Tsou/HIGHLANDER

Having the ability to pour one’s creativity onto a usually empty pavement, knowing fellow Highlanders would appreciate it, is in the spirit of Homecoming.

From Monday through Thursday of Homecoming Week, students walked to class but stopped in their tracks when they reached the sidewalk of the HUB upper plaza. On the pavement under white canopy tents, squares were created with blue tape for competing students to draw with chalk in the spirit of Homecoming Week. The 23rd annual Chalk the Walk, organized by the Highlander Union, is a week-long event, ending on Thursday with the winners being announced on the event’s Facebook page in the categories of “Riversights,” “Timeless Tartan” and “Super Scotty.”

On Monday afternoon, squares were abandoned and were filled with unfinished artwork. A team of three were working on an interpretation of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” including UCR landmarks: A half-created Scotty Spiderman with children around him and two different pieces involving the Bell Tower. Chalk dust sat in random piles around each square, filling the upper HUB with more color and sparking the interest of students.

One may stop and see the art being created before their eyes and marvel at the hard work of their fellow Highlanders. At the start of the event on Tuesday, not many artists were filling in their squares, but second-year microbiology major Hannah Way was fiercely at work with her collection of chalk, Marvel superhero-designed bottle and rag for mistakes.

Way has been participating in Chalk the Walk since her freshman year of college and is always excited to see the posters advertising the event. “I decided to try it and it went really well the first time,” Way reflected. In her first competition, she took home first place in the Timeless Tartan category with her depiction of Bernini’s “David” in black and white. When deciding her piece for this year, Way stayed in her comfort zone of classical art with her depiction of Michelangelo’s “The Libyan Sibyl,” which is on the the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel.

When asked about her motivation for participating, Way responded, “I did it mostly for fun, but it is still fun to win.” With one win under her belt, Way admitted she hoped to win in this year’s competition. “This one is a big step up for me. This is the first time I’ve done (one) with much detail in colors. It’s more eye-catching to blend more colors into it.”

Despite being a science-based major, Way has always been interested in art as a hobby since she received her first batch of graphic novels from a family friend. “I just traced them all the time. I was really excited and was like, ‘Yes! Art!’” Her love for art stayed constant in her life since then, but she mostly stayed in the comfort of markers, pens and pencils. The first time she used chalk was during her first Chalk the Walk of her freshman year.

As the interview came to an end, Way received compliments from onlookers passing by and watching her work being created. People watching her draw didn’t faze Way, who articulated, “One of the fun parts of the Chalk Walk is that it’s kind of performance art. Part of the event is people seeing you making it (the art) and it’s kind of a self-confidence builder.”

Confidence seems to be the core of Chalk the Walk for most artists. Having the ability to pour one’s creativity onto a usually empty pavement, knowing fellow Highlanders would appreciate it, is in the spirit of Homecoming. Homecoming Week brings the entire community together to celebrate school spirit, building confidence for people who don’t necessarily wear their hobbies on their sleeves.


Thursday: Scotty’s Birthday Celebration

Bri Chew/HIGHLANDER
Bri Chew/HIGHLANDER

… there is one fact that will forever be unchanging: Scotty’s imperative role in school spirit and his ability to bring instant smiles …

Scotty’s 65th birthday celebration, presented by Student Life and ASPB, took place on Thursday, Nov. 17. Food from vendors like Ray’s Pizza garnered huge lines of hungry college students as they patiently waited for Scotty to come out. Other tents meticulously plotted around the Bell Tower were dedicated to attracting those with a sweet tooth by giving out candy bags with delicious treats such as bubble gum balls and strawberry lemonade suckers. The more daring students grappled with the rock climbing wall on the grass near the Bell Tower.

The west side of the Bell Tower featured a sprawling line of individuals who wanted to try their luck at spinning a gift wheel. The wheel featured cool items from ASPB such as campus apparel bags and Bonfire-themed shirts. Anyone who tried their luck regardless of the outcome was rewarded with a mini-cupcake for their patience.

East of the Bell Tower, positioned adjacent to the goody bag table, was a tent dedicated to customizing your own button with Scotty-themed images. It was a process that allowed students to pick their favorite design and watch as it slowly became an actual button to be proudly pinned on their clothes. The button machine, a simple mechanism that attached the various components of the button, captivated those watching despite being fairly unremarkable.

“I’m so amazed right now because this is my first time actually seeing someone make a pin button from scratch. I didn’t know it was this simple,” said Jessica Lucas, first-year economics major, as she watched the design of her button become fully realized.

After 30 minutes passed, Scotty made an extravagant entrance, appearing with his handlers Joseph Martinez, senior coordinator of Student Organization and Campus Vitality, and undergraduate assistant Jasmin Gonzalez. Soon after, a line formed for students to take pictures with Scotty in all of his glory. Many students seemed to be extremely excited to meet their mascot as they high five’d him with vigor and then posed with Scotty’s signature “thumbs up” for a nice photo-op.  

Afterward, the spirit squad began to perform. After a medley of pop songs and synchronized spins, they blew kisses to the crowd, thanking everyone for attending. The event came to a climax when everyone gathered around Scotty to belt out “Happy Birthday.” As everyone serenaded Scotty with the iconic anthem, he pressed his arms against his heart as a pose of thanks. All of this was just a meager “Thank you” on behalf of the students to repay Scotty for his great patronage to school spirit throughout the years.

After the main event subsided, Martinez took the time to express his appreciation for Scotty and how he became one of his closest confidants.

“As a former cheerleader, I tried to bring some of those core values to my association with Scotty. Our job is to help students build integrity and provide them with spirit so they leave this campus more excellent than when they arrived,” Martinez voiced.

One of the defining moments for Martinez that he revealed took place the day after the recent 2016 presidential election. The campus was noticeably shaken by the results of the presidency. To boost spirits, Martinez and Scotty strolled about the campus giving out buttons and talking to students who were negatively impacted. Martinez remarked how students’ expressions changed immediately once they saw Scotty. People who were frowning before had huge smiles on their faces and their emotions did a complete 360-degree turn from their shaken dispositions. That was the day Martinez realized how important Scotty’s role was in boosting morale on campus.

Gonzalez, who serves as the other integral piece of Scotty’s entourage, also had very fond words for Scotty. She revealed that her time with Scotty has shaped her college experience by giving her something special to associate her undergraduate career with.

“Scotty symbolizes school spirit. When you see Scotty, you can’t help but feel Tartan Soul and Highlander spirit,” Gonzalez remarked.

After another year of celebrating our mascot, there is one fact that will forever be unchanging: Scotty’s imperative role in school spirit and his ability to bring instant smiles is something that will continue to keep the energy running for years to come.


 

Friday: Homecoming Bonfire

Thomas J. Holguin/HIGHLANDER
Thomas J. Holguin/HIGHLANDER

ASPB and UCR Athletics’ Homecoming Bonfire … brings a sense of nostalgia to returning UCR students every year.

ASPB and UCR Athletics’ Homecoming Bonfire, with its tradition of burning the Homecoming game’s opposing team’s mascot, the signature Rockstar truck and Mom’s Mini Donuts truck, live DJ’s, a variety of recreational activities and the free  — yes, how could we forget the free  —  In N’ Out brings a sense of nostalgia to returning UCR students every year. It serves as a source of togetherness for students because everyone, despite being different in years and majors, unites to relish in the school spirit that comes with setting the Homecoming game opponent’s mascot (which happened to be the blue and orange Sunny the Sunbird this year) aflame.

Thomas J. Holguin/HIGHLANDER
Thomas J. Holguin/HIGHLANDER

And it gives people an excuse to say “Oh hey, it’s Homecoming ttfu” since Block Party, Spring Splash and HEAT (which has been announced to return to UCR come winter quarter 2017) each come only once a year.

With that being said, this year’s Bonfire on Friday, Nov. 18 did change a few aspects that mixed the scene up.

First of all, the fireworks show seemed to be a pretty big deal unlike how it was in other years, as many students recalled that they were more extensive than they were in the past. Though slightly lengthy (around 15 to 20 minutes), every burst of multi-colored sparks was followed by another that seemed to be even larger and more exciting than the one preceding it. Fourth-year public policy major Jessica Toledo recalled, “I only went to Bonfire freshman year and I guess with it being my last year right now, I wanted to encapsulate everything and get the experience again. It was even better this time than it was three years ago because they were tiny in my freshman year but this year they were huge.”

As with every UCR Bonfire, the recreational activities that ASPB decided to set up this time around were slightly varied. Rather than having the mechanical bull, which they’ve had over the past few years, they set up the Scat ride, which required students to stand upright in a circular cage and swept from left to right while rotating. They also included an inflatable joust in which students battled each other one-on-one by trying to knock their opponent off of a small platform using large, cotton swab-like sabers.

Second-year pre-business major Denis Turan, who also attended Bonfire last year, observed, “They replaced the mechanical bull and gyroscope with the inflatable joust but I think people really enjoyed it (the inflatable joust). I think the better the activities, the better the overall experience.”

Last but definitely not least, the Homecoming Bonfire made its mark on UCR history with its solid musical performance consisting of Canadian-based DJ Ekali, or Nathan Shaw, who many students remembered as being one of the performers in this year’s Hard Summer lineup. After a warm-up performance by student DJ’s, 2UAN and Chef Ong, Ekali, whose set was dynamic and masterful in integrating EDM, trap and hip-hop to keep his mix textured and engaging, got students off the ground, jumping with enthusiasm and pumping their glow sticks in the air like it was a mini-Block Party or the HEAT that so many students missed.

Perhaps it was the invigorating music, memorable fireworks and energizing activities that provided a unique bonding element to this year’s Bonfire over others, but third-year economics major Brandon Salmon certainly noticed that it was “a lot cooler than last year’s. Everyone was interacting with each other and we were all having a good time with the DJ and everything. I feel like last year, no one really paid attention to the burning of the mascot but it kind of brought everyone together this time.”

No matter what it was that made students feel more connected to UCR, ASPB certainly achieved a praiseworthy Bonfire that will not be left in the dust of their memories.


 

Saturday: Scot Fest

Bri Chew/HIGHLANDER
Bri Chew/HIGHLANDER

 

Homecoming festivities continued with Scot Fest … (with) current students, potential UCR students and families … among the many in attendance.

Homecoming festivities continued with Scot Fest, which was held at the Bell Tower from 1 p.m.to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19. Current students, potential UCR students and families were among the many in attendance. Additionally, Discover Day — an open house event for prospective Highlanders to learn more about the housing, academic and financial aid options the school offers — was also held on the same day.

On the right side of the Bell Tower, games and activities were set up, and on the left side, campus and residence hall tours were occurring.

As people grabbed a free UCR shirt at the center booth, many parents tested their luck in the nearby spinning wheel giveaway hosted by the UCR Parent Association where they could win a free UCR parent shirt.

An hour into the event, the Highlander Band and spirit squad entertained the crowd with an energetic pep rally, which led into the men’s basketball players being introduced to the cheering crowd.  

In addition, Scotty walked around the event and took pictures with potential Highlanders and families, while student organizations performed at the Bell Tower following the pep rally.

Allison Pickle, a first-year environmental science major commented about the event, “I think (Scot Fest) is really cool. You get a lot of free stuff.”

Her friend Daniel Yee, a first-year electrical engineer, agreed with Pickle on getting the free items and added, “(There is) a lot of spirit.”

Both Pickle and Yee carried a bag each filled with the many free UCR accessories that were available to win at the numerous game booths.

The booths hosted a variety of games lined up with different prizes, ranging from UCR slap bracelets to small UCR flags. Some of the more difficult and competitive games offered prizes such as full-sized UCR banners and UCR lanyards.

But the Homecoming festivities weren’t over yet, as most of the people attending Scot Fest made their way to the SRC arena to watch the Homecoming basketball game once the festival drew to a close.  

Facebook Comments