After a week of dreary, rainy days, the skies finally cleared up and members of the College community came together for a day filled with burgers, beer and tradition.
On Saturday Oct. 2, the annual festivities of Spirit Week culminated in an ultimate display of Lions pride, as Homecoming 2010 transformed ordinarily quiet parking lots into an atmosphere of energy and school spirit.
As early as 10 a.m., music could be heard blasting from speakers, and attendees were already beginning to set up tents and fire up their grills.
Over the course of the day, individuals of all ages migrated to Lots 3 and 4.
Whether alumni came to reconnect with their former classmates, or family members came to visit current students, the day fostered an undeniable sense of togetherness.
Although the College lost in its game against SUNY Cortland, with a score of 37-0, this did not put too much of a damper on the day.
Despite the team’s loss, Katie Tedesco and Kevin Hodulik were victorious in being crowned this year’s Homecoming Queen and Homecoming King.
“I’m so excited because obviously I really wanted to win. I didn’t even realize I won until they said my name,” Tedesco said.
Not only was it a memorable occasion for Tedesco because she was voted homecoming queen, butunfortunately, it was also the first time she ever got stung by a bee.
While recovering from the sting, she said, “The whole reason why I ran was to make a statement. It started as a joke, but became reality. I wanted to prove that anyone can run for homecoming queen. It
doesn’t matter what organization you’re from. It just matters the type of person you are.”
Tedesco ran on behalf of College ambassadors and Women in Learning & Leadership.
Homecoming King Kevin Hodulik, also an ambassador, participated on their homecoming team, which includes the Leadership Development Program and Delta Sigma Pi.
“I’m really honored. It was definitely unexpected,” he said. “Thank you, campus. I’m really happy.”
When Hodulik was asked why he decided to run, he said, “I didn’t. My team nominated me. I felt like I was on cloud nine just being nominated and then made it to the court. And being voted king, I’m ecstatic.”
Hodulik was not the only happy person. An overwhelming feeling of joy was prevalent on campus.
For hours, swarms of people milled about the parking lots as they reminisced about old times while creating new memories.
Fraternities, sororities, clubs and the WTSR all marked their territory in the parking lots, joining together alumni and current members of these organizations.
“Sigma Pi honestly has the best tailgate,” said Matt Fargione, sophomore accounting major. “You can hear their music all across the parking lot. This is the best event on campus. It’s awesome. I love homecoming.”
“Homecoming brings the school together. There’s a sense of camaraderie,” said Mike Finley, senior technology education major.
Finley spent a majority of the day visiting the tents of the crew team and technical education students. As a Community Advisor at the College, he also used the day to reconnect with previous residents, while dancing and having fun with his friends.
Games of corn hole, beer pong and ladder ball were assembled throughout the parking lots. A moon bounce shaped like a tiger and a gigantic red, blue and yellow obstacle course were among the inflatable entertainment provided to children and College students alike.
While most people wore blue and gold apparel, there were some outlandish fashion choices. Cowboy hats, sombreros and suits made out of aluminum foil seemed almost normal compared to senior Carlo DiMeo’s ensemble.
Dressed like the Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear, DiMeo explained his costume choice by saying that he made the connection between the similarly sounding “Bud Light beer” and “Buzz Lightyear.” Whenever anyone pushed the red button on his costume, he proceeded to drink his Bud Light.
Lorraine Crum Pavlisko, class of ’52, and husband Philip Pavlisko, ’54, came back to see how the campus has grown since their years here. The two met at the College and have been together ever since.
Ellen Eliasen Knakal, physical education major from ’54, was spending the day with the couple and described her return to the campus as “just amazing.”
Knakal said, “Perhaps there were 10 buildings on campus when I was here. It’s changed so much. Naturally we’re hoping to bump into someone we recognize. Seeing if there are any others with gray hair, glasses …”
“And slight limps and pot-bellies,” added Philip Pavlisko, jokingly.
Erick Doyle, class of ’04, also returned to campus to see how the campus has changed and to catch up with old friends.
“I just went into Eickhoff. It used to be known as Community Commons when I went here. Now it looks like a mall food court,” he said.
“It’s always strange to come back,” Doyle said. “Year after year a new building is thrown up or a parking deck is built or a new softball field. It’s good to see the progress of the school, but it’s still kind of weird.”
Unlike the alumni, homecoming was a new experience for some students at the College.
“This is my first homecoming,” said Ali Wesson, sophomore art major. “I got to meet a lot of new people and I’m definitely having fun.”
Wesson was not the only student participating in these festivities for the first time.
Likewise, management major Jennifer Ponton said, “I’m a junior now and I actually regret that I’ve never been to homecoming before today. Everyone knows there’s a sense of community between freshmen that live in the Towers, but today there’s a sense of community within the entire campus.”
“I’m thoroughly enjoying myself and being able to wander around and visit friends,” Ponton said. “If I had realized homecoming was this fun and socially integrating, I would have came before.”
Diane Gioia-Bargonetti, alumna from the class of ’69, was found admiring and taking a picture of her brick in the Alumni Grove.
When asked why she decided to come back for the day, she said, “I was the Distinguished Music Alumni of 2010. For years the school had lost my (academic) records and I never heard from them and never got the alumni newsletters. One woman in the alumni office found my information at the bottom of the stacks and gave me the award. I feel so connected after all these years.”
Gioia-Bargonetti previously worked as a music producer with artists like Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick. She feels that the College prepared her for her career and success.
“I love it here. I always buy a t-shirt or sweatshirt whenever I come,” she said. “I’m reconnected and I’m back.”