As a school that lacks a football team and love for sports of any kind, I always get asked the same question: “So what do y’all do for school spirit?”, and I always give the same answer: “Homecoming week.”
Every year, Emory students, parents, and alumni gather in Asbury Circle to watch the Homecoming Parade while enjoying music and food trucks. Residence halls, fraternities, and other on-campus organizations decorate their floats in accordance to the theme. This year, the “Candyland” theme gave rise to decorations involving board games and candy. The group with the best float in the residence hall division would win points towards Dooley’s Bowl, which is Emory’s version of the “House Cup” in Harry Potter.
As a the Spirit Programming Chair of Complex Hall’s Residence Hall Association Council, I worked a lot on the planning and execution of Complex’s float. Let me tell you, it was a process.
Our idea was “The Sweet Life on Deck”, putting a twist on the title of the popular kid’s television show from the 2000s, Suite Life on Deck, which was centered around twin boys named Zack and Cody who attended school on a cruise ship. We decided we would turn our golf cart into the ship from the TV show, including windows with Zack and Cody’s faces inside, and we would place big versions of candy boxes on the top of the float. Formulating the ideas was the easy part.
After purchasing almost $200 worth of supplies from Walmart, we started painting the Sunday before the parade. After two hours of work, we quickly decided we needed another day during the week to finish everything up. So, that Wednesday, we ordered a pizza and began our work at 9:30 P.M. I didn’t get in bed until 3:00 A.M. that night.
Saturday, the day of the parade, finally came. I woke up at 8:30 to go pick up our golf cart, and after about 30 minutes of cluelessly walking around campus searching for the pickup spot, I finally found it, and my RHA team was able to get to work on building our float.
Our “cruise ship” included windows featuring Zack and Cody’s faces, Froot Loops strung from the ceiling, and giant candy boxes on top. We were able to put it together easily, and didn’t have any mishaps… Until we had to drive it to check-in, that is.
We had to drive all the way to the intersection of Peavine and Eagle Row (on the opposite side of campus from our dorm) for check-in. Once we reached Asbury Circle, we encountered a large crowd of people and booths that were setting up for parade viewing. As we were blasting Darude’s “Sandstorm” from our speaker, we were cruising in our cardboard-covered golf cart at a speed of 3 miles per hour, surrounded by crowds of upperclassmen and adults staring at us, unimpressed. It was embarrassing, to say the least. But don’t worry, we were laughing at ourselves.
At check-in, we saw all of the other floats ready to go for the parade. Jungle themed, Monopoly themed, and board game themed carts filled the parking lot, and participants applied body paint, danced to their music, or performed some chants in preparation for driving. Then, the cue came from the megaphone, and everyone loaded into their floats.
Driving through crowds of people who share a love for my school was truly exhilarating. I loved seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when I would throw them a piece of candy, or the laughs that came from those who found humor in the recognition of our Suite Life on Deck reference. I got to wave to friends I saw in the crowd, and I even passed my parents. Asbury Circle was buzzing with activity at this point, with people gathered around to watch the parade and enjoy lunch from the many delicious food trucks that were there. I could feel the sense of school spirit everyone shared and it reminded me of just how tight of a community Emory really is.
While many colleges base their spirit off of sports, Emory has been able to spread school pride in other ways through traditions that our specifically our own. Since I’ve been here, I’ve allowed myself to take part in activities that help spread spirit around campus, and I’ve found that our sense of community here is very strong. Participating in events such as the homecoming parade has made me proud to be a student at Emory, and I can’t wait to continue repping the name over the next four years.
By Kate Monger