Hometown pride, red ties and Batman may seem like a strange combination, but at Liberty University, it means Spirit Week. Liberty students celebrated the university’s 40th anniversary Homecoming weekend with their first Spirit Week, dressing up for specialty themed days throughout the week of Oct. 10 through 14.
“Spirit Week was the perfect way to get students pumped up for the 40th anniversary Homecoming. There’s no better way to celebrate the aspects of Liberty that serve as our common bond throughout the decades than the events of this week,” senior Keri Cook said.
The Dean of Students Office hosted the event and established a different theme for each day of the week leading up to the Homecoming celebration Oct. 15.
“As I was gearing up and getting excited about celebrating our 40th year Homecoming, I thought it would be great to do a Spirit Week with our own twist,” Dean of Students Keith Anderson said.
The theme of each day was specially crafted to focus on a distinct aspect of Liberty’s heritage. Monday celebrated hometown pride to showcase the various places that people come from to be at Liberty, while Tuesday featured a dash of John Travolta with a side of the Bee Gees as students celebrated 70s retro day to celebrate and remember Liberty’s founding year, 1971.
A quick favorite, though, was Wednesday’s red tie day, in which students were encouraged to wear red ties to honor the memory of Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr., who wore a red tie daily.
“I like the red tie day best because more people got involved,” sophomore Brianna O’Neal said. “Me and some friends went and got some red ties at the mall. I thought it was pretty cool.”
Perhaps the most anticipated of the themed days was Thursday’s flames favorite, in which superhero day was selected. Students were able to vote on the theme for Thursday through an internet poll on the Dean of Student’s website. The three options were “dress like a cowboy,” “dress like a superhero” and “wear all your clothes backwards.” The student body chose Superhero Day.
“It’s a great idea. I love that they had us choose our own for Thursday,” sophomore Jesse Thompson said.
“Superhero day was my favorite. I have a slight obsession with super powers and superheroes,” freshman Kati Bowlin said. Bowlin dressed as Batman for the day, sporting a T-shirt with an attached cape, Batman earrings and a Batman mask.
Superman, a Ghostbuster and Mr. Incredible, and many others, also made appearances on campus.
Friday wrapped up the week with Spirit Day, where students and faculty wore red to show their support for the football team as they prepared for Saturday’s game.
“Each day builds on the other and leads to this weekend, a lot of noisy, rowdy fans wearing red,” Director of Spiritual Development Dr. Ed Gomes said.
The week gave students a chance to celebrate the school’s history and achievements, and also to recognize the little things that make Liberty unique and to have some fun.
“I think it got the student body more involved because Homecoming weekend doesn’t mean a lot to lower classmen, so it was nice to be involved,” O’Neal said of the week as a whole.
“Spirit Week captured the student body’s Liberty pride, reflections on how far we’ve come and excitement for the future,” Cook said.
Students have already begun discussing their plans for next year’s Spirit Week.
“I think it was fun. It definitely got people pumped up,” freshman volleyball player Gabby Shipe said.
The Dean of Student’s Office plans on holding Spirit Week again in upcoming years.
“I hope that this will become a long standing tradition,” Anderson said.