Homecoming 2017: “It’s A Rock World” and we’re all just living in it

Slippery Rock University's 2017 Homecoming Weekend happens Oct. 10-15
Slippery Rock University's 2017 Homecoming Weekend happens Oct. 10-15

Oct. 2, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - We've all heard the story: "I just came back from (Tupelo, Mississippi; London; Uganda; etc.) and you'll never believe it, but I ran into this guy wearing a Slippery Rock University T-shirt and ..."

Seemingly, no matter where on earth you go, you'll find someone who attends or attended, knows someone that attended or that worked/works here or is retired from SRU. I guess you could say, "It's A Rock World."

In fact, that's exactly how the Offices of Alumni Engagement and Student Engagement and Leadership are referring to SRU's Oct. 10-15 Homecoming and Reunion Weekend.

"This year's theme is really a reflection of what we notice every day," said Kelly Bailey, director of alumni engagement. "Everywhere you go, near or far, it seems you run into an SRU graduate, a retired faculty member or someone that is connected in some degree of separation to the University.

"We've said it for a long time and it's true, it really is a 'Rock World' with great alumni doing wonderful things and this is the time of year we come together as a family to celebrate all we have done and all we are going to do through our fabulously shared history."

While a number of traditional homecoming activities fill up the schedule, including the annual parade through town, tailgating tents, fireworks, the naming of the homecoming king and queen, a dinner honoring the Class of 1967 and what's sure to be a fantastic football game, a number of new twists have been added as well. 

"Homecoming has always been supported through great alumni engagement, but to take it to the next level, it starts with making the event more student-driven now. If they are involved and excited as students, that will continue after graduation," said Lauren Moran, director of student engagement & leadership.

Moran's office hired a pair of student leader specialists - Kelly Lane, a junior early childhood/special education major from New Brighton and Abby Heidt, a senior early childhood education major from Erie - to focus their efforts on expanding the homecoming involvement of SRU clubs and organizations and create new and expanded event programming.

"They've been working since summer on directing an expanded committee of student leaders in the planning and implementation of events they feel will help create some new buzz around the whole week," Moran said.

Included among those events are:
-Spirit Board Painting, 5-7 p.m., Oct. 10: Student clubs and organizations will paint SRU-themed and homecoming messages on 3' x 4' boards that will be displayed in the Quad throughout the entire week. Boards will be judged by a small committeee comprised of a student, a staff member and a member of the faculty.
-Hip-Hop 'N' Chill, 5-7 p.m., Oct. 11: A night exploring hip-hop and R&B music and the cultural impact of each through interactive games in the Smith Student Center, Room 321. Sponsored by Black Action Society.
-GLOW Party, 8-10 p.m., Oct. 12: Students can help "light up the night" inside the Student Center Ballroom with glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf and laser tag.
-"Rock the Block" Tailgate Festival, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 14: To help fill the downtime between the parade and kickoff, this event is geared toward getting the crowd primed for game time with carnival games, food, prizes and giveaways and an outdoor stage featuring live music from "Radio Tokyo," an '80s, '90s and 2000s cover band.The hashtag, #sruHOCO17, has been created for use on social media posts to help promote the event.

"Long term, the goal of expanding the event offerings and getting more students involved is so that homecoming will be looked at as the one weekend each year that no one wants to miss," said Moran. "The excitement among those involved this year is high and gauging from that, I think we're really going to 'Rock' everyone's world this year."

Other special events scheduled for the weekend include the: Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner at 5 p.m., Oct. 13 in the Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center; the SRU Media Hall of Fame Ceremony at 6 p.m., Oct. 13 in the Smith Student Center and a homecoming pep rally at 8 p.m. in the Morrow Field House featuring the presentation of the 2017 Homecoming Court; performances by the Marching Pride, SRU cheerleaders and dance team and a speech from SRU Head Football Coach, Shawn Lutz.

Homecoming events begin Oct. 10 with "Paint the Town." Students will paint the windows of downtown Slippery Rock businesses on Main Street with colorful designs to welcome alumni home; and will continue through "Polish the Rock" at 1 p.m., Oct. 15. In between, more than 30 events will keep throngs of SRU faithful engaged.

The annual homecoming parade begins at 10 a.m., Oct. 14, travelling along Main Street. The Marching Pride, student organizations, alumni groups and SRU Interim President Philip Way will participate. Distinguished Alumni Gail Paserba, '90, and Elke Suber, '93, will serve as parade marshals.

SRU students will make a small alteration to the homecoming theme, using "Rock the World: A Tribute To Musical Artists" as the focus for this year's parade.

A soccer double-header begins at 1 p.m., Oct. 14 as the SRU men's soccer team will take the field, before giving way to the women's soccer team at 4 p.m. Both games will be at Egli Field against Millersville.

The big contest of the day - Rock football versus Indiana University of Pennsylvania - will kick off at 2:05 p.m. at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium. The game will be televised exclusively via the WatchESPN website, the ESPN app and the WatchESPN applications on various streaming devices. Viewers must have ESPN as part of their cable or satellite package or must have a standalone ESPN subscription to watch the game.

SRU's homecoming king and queen will be crowned during halftime.

Following the football game, a 5th quarter reunion alumni party will be offered from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Smith Student Center. Cost is $10 per person. Advance registration is requested but not required.

The Class of 1967 and Golden Grad Club members will gather for a dinner at 6 p.m. in the Alumni House, while a homecoming dance party hosted by the Black Action Society will round out the day's event from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

The weekend will conclude with the President's Wellness Commission 5K at 9 a.m., Oct. 15 at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium; "Polish the Rock" at 1 p.m. along the Main Street in downtown Slippery Rock; and two showings of "Spider-Man: Homecoming" at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Smith Student Center Theater.

For a complete list of all Homecoming and Reunion Weekend events, visit: http://www.rockalumnievents.com/homecoming.html.

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 | robb.king@sru.edu