Sunday, August 30, 2015 | Subscribe

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.