UMass Celebrates its Second Annual Homecoming Parade

By Paul Bagnall

The University of Massachusetts Marching Band was an alarm clock for some students this past Saturday.

Shaina Mishkin/Collegian

The band played in the University’s second-annual Homecoming Parade in the Southwest Residential Area Saturday at noon, entertaining some students, while making others turn over in their beds. The hour-long parade was part of the Homecoming Fall Festival, which began around 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The event was held in collaboration with the Alumni Association and other organizations. It was aimed at providing activities like the Student Fun Zone, a ROTC rock wall and a L.L.Bean raffle for $600 worth of hiking equipment

Music echoed out over the campus as the band made its way to the Student Union Building with around 20 floats, including the L.L.Bean “boot-mobile,” which celebrated the company’s hundredth anniversary. Student organizations such as UMass Student Activities and Involvement, African Student Association, Students of Caribbean Ancestry and Sigma Lambda Gamma all built their own floats.

Last year’s Homecoming Parade was smaller, featuring 10 floats, and followed the end of the football game. This year, the two events were separate.

The University Program Council (UPC) planned the festival and parade headed by Executive Director Annie Oakman, a senior dual majoring in business management and tourism, in hopes of getting students more invested in school spirit.

Some students felt the event fell short.

“It missed a bit of crowd support,” said Anamalai Natarajan, a Ph.D student in computer science.

Natarajan explained how his previous school, the University of Colorado, had more school spirit because it was scheduled later in the day when students were out of classes.

When the band started playing in Southwest, some students appreciated the performance, while others were annoyed at being woken up.

Lewis Higgins a sophomore marketing major living in Southwest, said the music was “loud and obnoxious.”

Some students did not expect the event due to the lengthy Homecoming schedule, which began Oct. 18 and lasted until this past Sunday.

Freshman Tiffany Tran said she enjoyed the performance from inside the dorms. “It was really random, but it was cool,” she said.

The band did a variety of covers, including “All Night Long,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “ABC” and “Jai-ho” from the movie Slum Dog Millionaire.

The band started practicing for the Homecoming Parade in August, according to this year’s band manager Stephanie Mullane.

“I think we were … enthusiastic and well received,” said Colleen Grady, a junior music education student that conducted some songs for the band during the parade.

Other performances throughout the day featured the Belly Dancing Club, music by the bands Two Dudes and a Guy Acoustic Trio and the Haitian American Student Association Cultural Dance Performance.

“We really branched out to more people,” Oakman said.

At 4 p.m., the UMass Iron Chef Competition was held in the Campus Center Auditorium. In the event, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jean Kim and Minuteman Marching Band Director Tim Anderson competed against each other for bragging rights in a free culinary event.

Leo Sheehan and Renee Barouxis were crowned as this year’s Homecoming King and Queen, which took place at the UMass hockey game against Boston University.

Paul Bagnall can be reached at [email protected]