Festivities foster enthusiasm

By Lisa Daigle

Increased school spirit and community involvement are two areas NIU would like to improve in Homecoming this year, said Rene Esgar, activities adviser at University Programming and Activities.

Esgar said she hopes the football game will draw a larger, more enthusiastic crowd than last year.

Paint the Town, a new activity addition, will involve DeKalb area businesses and NIU clubs to encourage enthusiasm in the community.

Certain businesses have donated the use of their display windows, which area clubs will decorate with a Homecoming message. The painting will be done Oct. 1 and will be left up for the entire week.

“We’re hoping to generate enthusiasm not only in the NIU community but also in the DeKalb community,” said Esgar.

Programming and activities also is responsible for raising the GPA requirement for the elected Homecoming king and queen from 2.25 to 2.5.

Esgar said the increase in the GPA requirement is intended to have the Homecoming king and queen represent the “ultimate student population on campus.”

A talent show, which was first conducted last year and was a “huge success,” will be held Oct. 5 in the evening. Professional comedian Pat Venier will be the master of ceremonies at the show.

NIU also will sponsor its first high school parade marching band competition. High schools participating include those from the Chicago area, Oak Lawn, Sauk Valley, Maulton, Chicago Heights, and Stillman Valley.

DeKalb High School will not be participating because of the Columbus Day holiday.

Director of Alumni Programs Susan Lund said she is expecting “double the academic participation this year over other years.”

Lund said compared to six years ago, tailgate parties have evolved from small groups of people gathering in the mud to large groups listening to live music and tents selling food.

“Five or six years ago it (Homecoming) wasn’t a big deal,” said Lund. “It was empty.”