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The inaugural “Light up the Night” event Monday night got homecoming week underway with a campfire themed gathering in the Commons Ballroom and a sparkler laden photo-op later in the night.
There is a lot of talk about new customs this year with homecoming: “Light up the Night,” the pep rally and the tailgate are all new events.
“We want to bring VCU together and make new traditions,” said Shaunice Grier, senior forensic science major and spirit and entertainment chair for the homecoming committee.
The first of these new traditions got VCU’s thirteenth annual homecoming ceremony started. It serves as the weeks “kickoff,” Grier said.
In the Commons ballroom yellow balloons adorned a s’more making station, attendees played back yard games and homecoming-royalty-hopefuls mingled in their sashes.
In the far corner students helped complete blankets that will be donated to local homeless shelters. The committee said that this year they put extra emphasis on reaching out to the community.
Anshjeyla Gunter, a senior biology major and the homecoming service chair said there will also be a can drive later in the week
Later in the night students migrated to the commons plaza where Reuban Rodriguez, dean of student affairs, spoke briefly in the 30 degree weather.
“I can tell that this Homecoming theme of ‘Empire’ is going to be the best,” Rodriguez said. “It going to win the Academy Award for best Homecoming ever.”
Then students and members of the committee began organizing themselves for a photo, which involved them standing in a masking tape outline that spelled out “VCU” while they held sparklers. The photo would be taken from atop the commons.
Testing the setup with the student’s phone lights the photographer could be heard over radios on the ground: “It just looks like a clump of people.”
After some shifting the photo was taken, students put out their sparklers and began to disperse while Flo Rida’s “Goin Down For Real” pumped through a sound system.