By Jamie Primeau
Yellow caution tape closed off a section of the Brower Student Center on October 20, allowing competitors of Spirit Week’s pumpkin-carving contest to concentrate on the task at hand.
From noon to 3 p.m., participants painstakingly perfected their pumpkins, with hopes of ranking first among the nine teams.
Spirit Week is a week-long competition that invites campus organizations to submit teams to participate in a variety of events. This year’s theme was Nick at Nite, based off Nickelodeon’s popular series of television shows.
These teams were composed of 26 campus organizations, mostly fraternities and sororities, with the exception of the Gilligan’s Island team, made up of members of Synergy and the College’s Ambassadors.
“I have a broken foot and this is the only event I can participate in,” Caitlin Lesniak, senior English major, said. “Oh, and I love pumpkin carving.”
With an injury impeding Lesniak’s ability to run around during the week’s other, more competitive and physically-demanding activities, she carefully carved the design of the Dark Knight’s infamous Joker into her team’s pumpkin.
Lesniak was competing on behalf of Charlie’s Angels, a team composed of brothers and sisters from Sigma Pi, Theta Phi Alpha, and Chi Upsilon Sigma.
During the pumpkin carving event, two representatives from each team were given three hours to create a Halloween pumpkin. To prevent exhaustion, they were allowed to switch every hour and take turns being the carver,
Elissa Romaniello, junior finance and Italian major, oversaw the event and served as the co-chair for this year’s Homecoming Committee.
According to Romaniello, creativity, timing, and overall execution of the task were the criteria used to judge this contest and a majority of the events throughout Spirit Week.
“A lot of planning went into this. I can’t believe its here already and it’ll be over before you know it,” she said, referring to the profundity of preparation required to make such a week possible.
Romaniello and her co-chair Alicia Hill, as well as the rest of the Homecoming Committee, began organizing and brainstorming plans for this year’s events in the beginning of the school year.
While pumpkin carving has an underlying and undeniable competitive side to it, Romaniello deemed it one of the “calmer” events.
However, the lack of physical activity is not the only distinguishing factor that made pumpkin carving so special.
When organizing the events of the week, the Homecoming Committee is required to plan one community service activity.
“It is a great way to give back to the community and we felt that since Spirit Week was so close to Halloween this year, a great event would be pumpkin carving,” Romaniello said. She explained that after the pumpkins were carved and judged, they would be donated to the local Boy’s and Girl’s Club in Trenton.
With a week filled with activities centered on the teams and their competitive nature, the participants were “more than willing” to participate in a community service oriented event, and were “excited and happy to give back,” Romaniello said.
The student center was chosen as the location of the event, Romaniello said, in the hopes that students, faculty and staff could witness all the hard work going into the activity and get involved in the spirit of Homecoming.
“It really comes down to the word ‘homecoming,’” Romaniello said. “It’s a way for people to celebrate their experiences, unite as a student body, welcome back alumni and just a way to show (College) spirit. What’s so great about the week is that it’s so diverse and there are so many different events occurring throughout the week.”
“(The events) are running really smoothly,” she said. “This is the result of the cooperation and coordination of the office of student activities, the homecoming spirit week committee, myself and my co-chair Alicia Hill, our advisors Dave Conner and Jessica Claar, as well as all of the administrators, faculty, and staff of the College. And the participating teams — the teams are the ones who come out and make the events what they are — they make Spirit Week so great,” Romaniello said.
The enormity of effort that went into planning and organizing Homecoming is evidenced by the success of Spirit Week.
Regardless of which activity one favored — whether it is powder puff football or pool games — homecoming successfully fostered an exciting environment of Lion’s pride to bring students closer together.