Though there is no official Homecoming week this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Student Government Association (SGA) has planned virtual events to keep the tradition, and its spirit, soaring.
Traditional Homecoming events like the Fountain Sit and the Bring It On Eagle-Style competitions will not take place in the week leading up to Homecoming, which is taking place in conjunction with the Southern Miss football game against the Rice University Owls. However, the SGA will be organizing all new events for the Southern Miss community to participate in virtually.
“Now more than ever, we [the SGA] recognize the importance of building community and showing spirit,” says the SGA’s official website. “We can’t wait to celebrate with you!”
Sherrice Wright, SGA’s Director of Homecoming, has created new events for a virtual Homecoming week along with her team to preserve the tradition while preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“We still want to build community and give students a chance to get to know the court they voted on to represent them,” said Wright. “We want to remind everyone that Southern Miss is still about community and tradition, and to remind them of why they’re here in Hattiesburg.”
Seeking Seymour, a virtual challenge inspired by “Where’s Waldo”, will be an all-day scavenger hunt across campus to collect prizes sponsored by campus departments and student organizations. Students will follow clues to find eagles that have been placed around campus, which they will then take photos with to post on social media. The eagles correspond to different prizes like sweatshirts, cups and more.
The recently elected Student Body Court will be honored in a series of Instagram Live takeovers. A pair of court members will take over the SGA’s Instagram account throughout Homecoming week, introducing themselves and engaging with the USM community. The social media takeover will start Oct. 23 and will end with Mr. and Miss Southern Miss on gameday Oct. 31.
In place of the traditional Homecoming Court halftime show, the jumbo screen will play a pre-recorded video introducing the Student Body Court. The court will be in attendance for the game, but they are not expected to wear formal attire.
Freshman maid Kelli Hathorn is honored to be a part of Southern Miss tradition despite all of these new restrictions.
“I totally get it that we can’t be on the field for safety precautions. It’s disappointing, but I know we will have more festivities in the future. Homecomings in the years to come will be even better,” Hathorn said.
SGA President Rachel Shoemaker said they are working on creative ways to possibly move the traditional Homecoming spirit events to the spring semester, but remains confident in what has been done instead.
To keep up with all the new Homecoming festivities, follow the Southern Miss SGA on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. Barring any delays due to a recent COVID-19 outbreak on the team, the Golden Eagles should face off at home with Rice University on Oct. 31, at 2 p.m.