Thursday, October 23, 2014

Creative floats color Homecoming parade

Grand finale — Fans watched as fireworks lit up the sky after the Flames won the football game against Coastal Carolina at Williams Stadium, making a happy ending to a week long celebration of Liberty’s 40th Anniversary Homecoming. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Floats filled the streets and candy flew through the air, landing in the hands of sugar-loving college students who cheered the parade on from the sidewalks. Liberty University’s 40th anniversary homecoming parade was held at 1 p.m., Oct. 15, on University Boulevard and many students, as well as alumni, showed up for the event.

The parade, which lasted an hour, was full of energy and school spirit.

Jacob Vinson, an accounting major graduating in May, was one of several students who came out to support Liberty University by watching the parade and exhibiting school spirit.

“This is the first homecoming parade I have attended in my four years at Liberty,” Vinson said. “I have to say I was surprised with how big the turnout was.”

The parade began with Liberty University’s marching band and color guard leading the way down University Boulevard, followed by the cheerleaders, the Chancellor and his family and many floats.

Among some of the floats was a student leadership float with the theme “m3,” which stands for “Minister. Mentor. Mobilize.” Several students involved with leadership were atop the float all dressed in red, throwing candy to those watching the parade.

Another float that made its way down University Boulevard was the Student Government Association’s float with the theme of “in God we trust.” This float presented a scene of a student dressed as a judge proclaiming to members of a court that “in God we trust.”

“You could really tell the hard work that students and student groups put into making their floats,” Vinson said. “The only thing that could have topped the floats there was if Liberty could have hired a popular band to play on one of the floats. Maybe in the future that will become a reality.”

Familiar faculty and staff around campus judged the floats and cash prizes were awarded to the ones exhibiting the most creativity and school spirit. The first place prize went to the psychology club, the second place prize went to the Liberty Nursing Student Association’s natural disasters-themed float and third place was given to the Student Government Association.

“The purpose of the parade is to show school spirit and excitement for the homecoming game,” Associate Director of Student Activities Alese Chandler said. “A float competition is just extra incentive for the students to want to participate in the activity.”

Michael Grooms, one of Liberty’s alumni from the first graduating class, brought his family to the parade and was surprised to see how much the college had grown since he was a student.

“They had more students involved in the parade than in the entire school when I was studying there,” Grooms said. “It’s amazing to see how much this place has grown.”

The parade attracted a wide variety of onlookers, both old and young, as well as families and students. Following the parade, many began tailgating in the parking lot in preparation for the big homecoming football game.

“I won’t lie,” Vinson said. “I was pretty excited to get lots of candy from the parade.”
For more information about upcoming Student Activities events, visit their website at liberty.edu/campusrec/studentactivities.

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