FMU celebrates 49th Homecoming

Students and alumni show school pride

Generations bonded as FMU students and alumni gathered to celebrate Homecoming on Feb. 23 around FMU’s campus.

The main feature of the weekend was a basketball doubleheader, where the men’s and women’s basketball teams played against Flagler College. The men’s team won 84-71 and the women’s team lost 63-60.

Before the game, students and alumni celebrated throughout the morning. The morning began with tailgating, where attendants could relax and get food from various food trucks or grill their own.     At 11:45 a.m., student organizations led a parade down Heyward and Alumni Drives. After the parade, the Patriot Fest started in the Smith University Center, where students and alumni interacted and played games.

FMU alumna Abbey Adams said she made the drive to FMU from Lancaster because of the positive experiences she had at the school.

“I loved FMU,” Adams said. “I think the campus and its layout are beautiful. I made a lot of friends here and the professors were always really nice. FMU also provided me with a lot of opportunities. I have a lot of school spirit.”

Before the first game, FMU’s athletics department set up a silent auction on the north side of the UC gym, where people could bid on FMU memorabilia to support the university’s athletics.

After the men’s game finished, FMU announced the winners of Homecoming King and Queen. Gabriel Hutson won Homecoming King and Shiniyah Brown won Homecoming Queen.

Hutson said he was shocked that he won. He said the other candidates were amazing and said there was no way to know beforehand who would win. He said he hopes that his win is a reflection of his merit.

“I’ve had a lot of leadership positions at FMU,” Hutson said. “To me, this crown is them saying ‘thank you’ for the hard work that I’ve put into this wonderful university.” 

Brown said she was excited to win, but that the experience was also nerve-wracking for her. She credits the hard work of her friends for her win.

“I had a really great support system,” Brown said. “We ran a good campaign and we hustled hard to make this happen.”

Throughout the week preceding Homecoming, FMU had various activities for students and alumni. The week began with “Blast to the Past,” a party hosted by the Student Government Association (SGA) where students dressed in clothing from different decades according to their year at the university.

SGA President Connor Graham said they organized the event so that people who are in the same year at FMU could meet.

“We never get to do things by classification,” Graham said. “I may see someone that’s a different major than me that I’ve never met before in my life. So we had different-colored wristbands so the different classes could easily meet each other.”

SGA handed out the Patriot Passport at the event, a tool made by SGA and the Campus Activities Board (CAB) to encourage students to participate in Homecoming activities. If students attended all four student events during the week, SGA put them into a raffle to win an iPad. If they attended two, they got a chance to win a basket full of FMU merchandise.

The other events were FMU’s Got Talent, the finale to CAB’s four-part talent show, FMU’s bonfire pep rally and a glow afterparty.

Several of FMU’s athletics teams played throughout the day. FMU’s men’s and women’s tennis teams beat Barton College. The softball team played against West Liberty University and Queens University of Charlotte, winning both games. FMU’s baseball team lost to USC Aiken.

FMU concluded the weekend with a series of post-Homecoming activities. On Feb. 23, The Second City, a traveling improvisational comedy group, performed at the Performing Arts Center. On Feb. 24, FMU’s athletics teams offered free admission to the softball, baseball and tennis games.