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Homecoming beats cold

Despite the rainy, chilly weather, homecoming weekend 2014 came to a successful finale on Saturday after a Spirit Week full of student and alumni competitions and events.

Simpson Residence won the overall Spirit Week competition for the fourth year in a row, with Chi Omega sorority taking second place and Niedfeldt Residence winning third. Chi Omega and Niedfeldt were also the first and second place champions of Saturday night’s Mock Rock dance party, the last of the Spirit Week competitions. Earlier in the day, seniors Spencer Bell and Morgan Delp were crowned homecoming king and queen at the football game against Grand Valley State University. Bad weather cancelled Friday night’s fireworks show at Hayden Park and curtailed attendance at Saturday evening’s new “Tastes of Hillsdale” event, but overall the weekend’s many festivities made for an excellent end to homecoming 2014.

“Saturday was the best day,” Anthony Manno, director of student activities, said. “The events went so smoothly, and that’s just a big thanks to all the student groups and Greek houses. They make the event. They have such participation and great passion for taking a picture, or for eating a bunch of chicken wings. That’s what makes it worthwhile.”

Delp enjoyed celebrating her crowning as homecoming queen with her fellow Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority members.

“I know that there are so many people that could have also won this honor, especially the other six [nominees],” she said, considering her win. “It’s just an honor to be considered among them.”

According to Manno, more student teams competed in Spirit Week than ever before.

“Judging from the records of previous years, we had the most teams participate this year,” he said.

Alumni activities were also highly attended.

“I think it was very successful,” Joyce Curby, coordinator of alumni events and activities, said. “Especially when you look at what the weather was like.”

She said not all alumni who attend homecoming bother to register, making the actual number of alumni attendees difficult to calculate. She noted, however, that many individual events were full to capacity, with a few boasting unprecedented numbers of participants.

“We had more people at our fun run than we’ve ever had,” she said. “We have a yearly alumni shoot, and that was beyond capacity. There were specific events happening all over campus that had a lot of people.”

According to Grigor Hasted, director of business and industry, and constituent and alumni relations, the weekend’s rain and cold resulted in smaller-than-average attendance in a way last year’s sunny, 80-degree day did not. Nevertheless, he said he was pleased with the numbers that did come, and particularly emphasized the high numbers at the tent party.

“We need a bigger tent next year,” he said in an email.

Manno foresees the tent party continuing to be popular with alumni in the future. He anticipates alumni perhaps even forming their own Mock Rock teams and competing alongside students.

In fact, he and SAB have many exciting visions for Hillsdale homecoming in the coming years. For instance, the popularity of this year’s brand-new Instagram video competition will probably ensure its return next year.

“We want to use more means of social media,” Manno said. “I could definitely see the photo competition going strictly digital.”

Manno also has personal goals for homecoming improvements, including addressing the trouble the audience had viewing Mock Rock this year despite having the performances projected onto the ceiling of the performance tent.

“I am definitely going to do everything I can to make it a more viewer-friendly event,” Manno said.

In the end, both Curby and Manno felt the only blight on the successful finish of Hillsdale homecoming 2014 was the unfortunate rain and cold. They said they hope that too will be improved upon in next year’s festivities.

“If I can control the weather, I’ll try to do that too.” Manno said with a smile.

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