From Oct. 11 to Oct. 19, Youngstown State University hosted a multitude of events and gatherings on and off campus to get its students and community members from years past and present to feel the penguin pride.
The week kicked off with the 1920s-themed Diversity Prom and continued on with various other sponsored events such as Alpha Omicron Pi’s “Smoke Out Arthritis” BBQ, Red and White Day, and the ever infamous “Build a Penguin.”
Rookery Radio played continuous music all week on campus, getting the students excited for the events and for the big homecoming game against Western Illinois University that took place on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Preluding the game was a Student Government-sponsored tailgate as well as the Homecoming parade. The parade began at 2 p.m and ran along Fifth Avenue from Spring Street to Stambaugh Stadium. The theme for this year’s parade was “Penguin Pride Planet wide” and had a host of different floats, walkers and other groups present on campus and in the community.
Paige Rassega, the coordinator of this year’s parade, said that Homecoming Week and the parade is a great way to expand the knowledge of the things that happen on campus and within YSU’s organizations.
“YSU is global,” Rassega said. “There are study abroad programs and so many students are from different walks of life from all around the world. Our theme this year is to showcase that.”
Sororities and fraternities made floats to be judged, different businesses from downtown Youngstown sponsored various things in the parade and students from different cultures paraded in clothing from their culture.
The day of the parade was a gloomy cold day of a mere 60 degrees, but the crowds still lined the streets. The procession began at the end of Spring Street, continued up 5th Avenue and ended by the stadium.
YSU President Randy Dunn headed the parade riding in a red convertible. Peer mentors from the Center of Student Progress as well as many others walked with banners in the parade. Students from different cultures had an opportunity to showcase their roots by carrying flags from their home countries.
Different themed floats, including a “Penguins of the Caribbean” sponsored by Zeta Tau Alpha and an Antarctica themed float sponsored by Sigma Alpha Epsilon took part in the community parade.
Peer Mentor Maxwell Gocala said that homecoming week is a strengthening agent for the school and the community.
“Homecoming week lets the community, staff, past and present student, people who want to be students be together,” Gocala said, “its a big hoopla around here. Especially since our football team is doing good. The turnout is going to be huge.”
After the parade, many students, staff, faculty, and community members filed into the YSU stadium to hear the crowning of the homecoming king and queen. This year’s winners were Tyler Brentley, a criminal justice major, and Melissa Wasser, a political science major.
Ending Homecoming Week was the annual Homecoming football game, where — in the cold and rain — YSU defeated Western Illinois, 24-14.