This year’s Homecoming celebration showed a determined effort to make the College’s 150th anniversary a memorable one, as a parade and numerous family-oriented activities involving both the College and the Township of Ewing were scheduled for Oct. 16. Parade Fest 2004 was a change from the past four years, when Community Fest was held to involve off-campus businesses and groups.
Janis Blayne Paul, chief sesquicentennial officer, said she wanted to try something different for this special year. “There were always lots of plans but not a lot of interest (in Community Fest),” Blayne Paul said. “The challenge is getting students on board.”
For the first time, the College held activities before the big game, instead of planning the events on a completely different weekend than Homecoming, which had been the case in the past.
This year, 11 on-campus student organizations volunteered to help and participate in Parade Fest. Blayne Paul said she hopes this is only the beginning, and that more individuals and groups will join in the future.
“The greater turnout we have, the more likely we will be able to do this for years to come,” she said.
Parade Fest was also created to bolster local recognition.
Students at the College know that it deserves national prestige, but respect from its neighbors is equally important. Therefore, the committee strived to gather new support from local businesses and organizations.
The local businesses involved with Parade Fest included Courtyard by Marriott, Credit Union of New Jersey, ShopRite, NJM Bank and Sovereign Bank. Also lending their support are non-profit organizations like the YMCA, the Ewing Township Police and Fire Departments and various Ewing public schools.
Many groups created floats and banners for the parade to make for a very colorful Homecoming experience.
Blayne Paul said the parade would allow the community to see the College as “a thriving, vibrant community with students who are passionate about where they go to school.”
Sophomore Meg Hueter said she is happy that the College is going all out for Homecoming this year.
“Since it’s the Sesquicentennial, they want to show families the student and alumni spirit by having them come out for the event. It’s a great way to bring people together to support the school.”