Texan Spirit Week continues homecoming tradition for Fall 202

Ever since Tarleton professional staff members had to make the tough decision to extend spring break and inevitably transition fully online for the spring semester, there have been questions about this fall and what the plans would be.

Thanks to the hard work of many staff members and health consultants we have successfully transitioned back to school in a hyflex model. While the transition has been successful, there are still many questions to be answered about the tried and true traditions that usually take place during the fall semester.

One of Tarleton’s biggest traditions is Homecoming and while it is something everyone loves there was no way to put it on in its entirety and guarantee safety of all the attendees. For this reason, the Homecoming Committee decided to pick and choose which events to hold in the fall and which to postpone to the spring.

The Homecoming Committee is comprised of faculty, staff, and student representatives. They began their work on adapting traditional Homecoming events to a COVID-19 environment when they got word that the football season would be postponed to spring. They have been meeting monthly to discuss ways to safely hold events for students on campus, honoring the spirit of Homecoming week.

Recently news was released about Texan Spirit Week which will take place from Oct. 11 to Oct. 14, 2020, in lieu of our traditional Homecoming. In the Tarleton State University Notice it said, “Homecoming week has moved to the spring to coincide with the pandemic-altered football season. But that doesn’t mean traditional fall activities have been forgotten.”

Texan Spirit Week will be a re-imagining of the yearly campus celebration and events will include, Lighting of the Smokestack, announcement of the spring 2021 Homecoming Court, Midnight S’mores at the Trogdon House, Silver Bugle Hunt, Launching of the Ducks, and the Purple out Picnic.

When choosing events for fall versus spring, the Homecoming Committee considered.

“What we could feasibly put on in the spring that would remain student based and not take away from the fall experience that students know and love,” Homecoming Committee member and Director of Alumni Engagement, Jessica Evans said.

“Events in the fall will be held on their traditional days, honoring the spirit and tradition of Homecoming week, but we are also saving some of the events with greater ties to football for the spring,” Tarleton State University’s Student Government Association President, Cahlen Cheatham said.

Cheatham was charged with getting students’ perspective on having, or not having, homecoming events in the fall.

“I went to students asking about what they wanted and how comfortable they felt having events; determining the line of want and need versus safe and unsafe was the biggest question. It came down to students wanting events and believing in Tarleton’s ability to ensure safe practices,” Cheatham said.

“We really wanted new and returning students to have some sort of Homecoming experience even if we aren’t technically having a full-fledged Homecoming this fall. Looking from an alumni standpoint we are working on possible virtual events we could hold during Texan Spirit Week to maintain the active connection with our Tarleton alumni that Homecoming usually fosters,”
Evans said.

Tarleton Spirit Week will be entirely COVID-19 compliant, all precautions and procedures will be enforced.

“Masks and social distancing will be required at all events, and some events have even undergone changes to be safer,” head of the Homecoming Committee, Donna Strohmeyer, said. “Finding balance in being tradition and being safe while following guidelines has been our utmost priority.”

While the traditional Homecoming Tarleton students know and love will not happen this year, there are plans well in the works to execute events that honor our traditions in the most appropriate, COVID-19 way. The Homecoming Committee worked hard to come to their conclusions and to form their ideas for Texan Spirit Week. We all know, life with COVID-19 precautions is never going to look normal. However, Tarleton as a whole is clearly committed to adjusting, adapting and overcoming in ways that benefit students.

Events that will take place in the spring in conjunction with the Homecoming football game include; Bonfire, Yell Contest, Snake Dance, Beating of the Drum, Yell Bingo, Purple Pancakes and the J. Dixon White Homecoming Golf Tournament.