The FMU Student Alumni Association hosted the third annual Homecoming tailgate for students and alumni behind the Smith University Center (UC) on Saturday, Feb. 10.
Lee Daugherty, director of alumni affairs, said attendance at this year’s event was impressive and a sign of growth at FMU.
“The tailgate looks like our campus now,” Daugherty said. “It started growing, gathered a little momentum and now it seems to be full blown.”
Daugherty also said 18 tailgate spots were sold last year, with around 200 people in attendance. This year there were at least 1000 people in attendance with nearly 70 spots sold, Daugherty said.
“I’m very pleased to see just about every sorority and fraternity represented here, even ones that are no longer on campus,” Daugherty said. “The participation is outstanding. I predict every year the number of tailgating spots we sell will just go up.”
The student and alumni organizations who were present were able to purchase a tailgating spot for $25. Tailgating began at 11:00 a.m. on game day.
Senior Eric Squirewell, member of Iota Phi Theta fraternity, said it’s his last homecoming at FMU and the experience is bittersweet.
“There are a lot of former brothers here,” Squirewell said. “It makes me think about how next year I am going to be a part of the FMU alumni family. It’s my last year and I’m just trying to enjoy the social aspect of the event. It’s been great so far.”
Rhonda Daniel, FMU alumna and a former president of Alpha Delta Pi, said being back at FMU is like returning to a home away from home.
“Seeing all of the familiar faces and meeting new people is what makes the tailgating experience memorable,” Daniel said. “It’s great to be back at FMU. I was a part of the art association, in student government, an orientation leader, a tour guide and president of my sorority. Being a part of all of these organizations makes coming back to campus even better. You’re a part of a history.”
Xavier Sams, 2008 alumna of FMU and Delta Sigma Theta, said experiencing homecoming as an alumnus instead of a student is an incredibly different experience.
“Being an alumni is great,” Sams said. “When I was here, I was trying to make sure I didn’t fall behind during the week of homecoming. There are a lot of activities and you still have to juggle your school work. It’s cool to be here and experience campus activities from a different point of view.”
Sams said she has been to every homecoming tailgate since she graduated and doesn’t plan to break the tradition anytime soon.