U fraternities prepare for Homecoming

Kamariea Forcier

While some University students spent their Tuesday evening studying inside coffee shops or dorm rooms, at least one group of students spent the day decorating their house.
For Homecoming.
“We’ve been planning this all summer,” said Josh Stowers, a College of Liberal Arts sophomore who belongs to the Sigma Chi fraternity.
Housefront decoration is a tradition on the University campus. Fraternities that line University Avenue decorate their houses with tissue paper and school logos for the Homecoming parade.
The tradition of creating such housefronts was almost broken because of construction along University Avenue, but the orange-clad workers packed up their detour signs just in time to keep the parade route open.
With little more than a week before the parade passes by the house on Oct. 19, the members of Sigma Chi have most of the hard work done, but were finishing up a few details.
“The real tradition is sitting up all night before the parade, pomping,” said Chris Nelson, a senior in the Institute of Technology and president of Sigma Chi. Pomp is the term for the colorful, crinkly paper used to decorate the houses.
The night before the parade, one member of the house usually sleeps outside with the decorations to make sure they get through the night intact. Nelson said other fraternities generally do not try to destroy other fraternities’ decorations.
“Nobody ever touches the decorations. Sleeping outside is just another part of the tradition,” he said.
On the day of the parade, a panel of alumni and University employees judge the decorations and hand out a trophy to their favorite.
Whoever wins the housefront competition also earns points toward an overall Homecoming competition, run by the Homecoming committee.
Winning that competition is very prestigious, Nelson said.
Last year, Sigma Chi won first place for their housefront. The year before that they took second place.
“We’ve done well these last couple of years,” said Stowers.
For this year’s competition, the house members have built a gigantic letter M that will be covered in paper.
“We’ve got the biggest M in the fraternity system,” said David Campbell, a CLA junior.
With approximately 45 members living in the two houses they own on University Avenue and close to 30 more members living elsewhere, Sigma Chi is the second-largest fraternity at the University.
For this year’s Homecoming, they have paired up with the largest fraternity on campus, Theta Chi, and Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.
During the parade, members of all three groups will watch the festivities from a house along University Avenue. All the decorations will be torn down by Sunday.
Stowers started describing Homecoming as “the most exciting, most action-packed day,” before he was interrupted by Nelson, who said, “It’s a knock-down, drag-out time of the year.”