Religion, lack of time keep some out of Homecoming events

by Elizabeth Putnam

Students and organizations participating in the annual Homecoming parade Saturday will march past the Hillel Jewish Student Center on University Avenue.

Because of the Jewish Sabbath on Friday and Saturday, however, Hillel doesn’t encourage its students to participate.

“It’s not that we don’t want to participate,” said Amy Olson, executive director of Hillel. “It’s the timing. Students on their own, I’m sure, will participate, but we don’t actively as an organization participate.”

Whether for cultural, religious or other reasons, student groups on campus have a low participation rate in Homecoming events.

Ayse Pinar Tutus of the Turkish American Student Association sees Homecoming as an event for alumni.

“I don’t believe that we were contacted by anyone to get involved,” Tutus said. “After graduation, graduates go home and don’t stay in the United States, so Homecoming isn’t a focus.”

Tutus said involvement is a possibility if more information is given out.

The Queer Student Cultural Center marches annually in the parade but chooses not to participate in anything else.

“There is a lack of interest because it is seen as a greek event,” said Lucy Faurot, co-chairwoman of QSCC. “In the parade we are met with different reactions – mostly support – but others aren’t sure or are uncomfortable.”

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria, a member of La Raza Student Cultural Center, said he doesn’t see Homecoming as an all-greek event and has noticed involvement from many organizations.

“The greek community on campus is large, so of course it’s logical that you will see greeks,” said Sanchez-Chavarria. “Homecoming is open to all and it’s up to the organizations to get involved.”

Involvement is difficult because there are other things going on, Sanchez-Chavarria said.

“September is a big month for our organization because we have many activities in La Raza,” said Sanchez-Chavarria. “Our power is diverted to something else and our priority isn’t Homecoming events.”

La Raza is an umbrella organization that isn’t involved as a whole, though subgroups are, said member Hernan Moncada.

The Asian Student Cultural Center puts priority on its subgroups as well but will be walking in the parade.

“We put effort into our beginning-of-the-year kickoff and that took a lot of time,” said Tom Loung, president of the ASCC. “It’s hard to coordinate everything and the timing is bad so we will just be in the parade.”

This is the first year that Loung can remember being in the parade. The ASCC did not participate last year, Loung said.

The African Student Association and the Africana Student Cultural Center will participate in a Homecoming event other than the parade.

“We’ve decided that participation would bring more exposure to our organizations,” said Daniel Achina, president of ASA. “It’s a good way to inform and interact with others.”