UTEP Prepares for Haunting Homecoming

By Daniel Perez
Posted: 10/13/11

This year’s homecoming activities at The University of Texas at El Paso have more of an orange-and-black motif as events play off All Hallows Eve, so Miner Nation be warned – this week’s agenda is filled with tricks and treats.

Coordinators conjured up contests that stayed true to this year’s A Haunting Homecoming theme. The challenges range from the selection of Homecoming royalty to the creation of “scary” desserts, carved pumpkins, and ghostly parade floats.

“I’m super excited about all the events,” said Erika D. Portillo, a Student Development Center coordinator who helped oversee Homecoming preparations. “The students chose these different activities. They wanted it scary.”

To be clear, organizers mean scary as in fun scary. One prime example is the annual lip sync competition that starts at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Union Plaza Stage. Fraternities, sororities and student groups will add their own Halloween sub-themes to performances meant to make the audience howl.

“It’s the most fun. The students sing, dance and make fools of themselves. They’re totally without shame,” Portillo said with a laugh.

This year’s festivities begin with the annual Student Government Association Royalty Pageant, where judges will select the Homecoming king and queen and their court starting at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, at UTEP’s Magoffin Auditorium. Contestants will try to showcase their school spirit to the judges.

Winners, who represent student groups, earn points for their organizations during the different competitions. The group with the most points at the end of the week will earn trophies and cash ($200 for first, $125 for second and $75 for third) that will be put into their student organization accounts.

Students will get to show their vampire’s bite during the “Bobbing for Apples” contest at noon Monday, Oct. 17, at the Union Plaza, which will be home to almost all of this year’s Homecoming competitions. Participants will demonstrate their creativity as they answer the “Scariest Dessert” challenge at noon Tuesday, Oct. 18, and their dexterity with a knife during the pumpkin carving competition at 6:30 p.m. the same day.

Staff, students and faculty are encouraged to watch the contests during the day or after hours, such as the pumpkin carving contest or the float-making party that will start at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in the P-9 parking lot behind the Sun Bowl and Kidd Field.

Freshman Paola Lujan, who is between majors, said she looks forward to experiencing her first UTEP homecoming. She said she plans to support her sorority friends who will perform at the lip sync contest and at the float-making party.

“They’re making a big deal about the floats. They’re excited and they want to win (the float competition). It sounds like fun, but also very competitive,” she said. “I decided to take it easy this year and see what college life is all about, but next year I plan to go all out.”

Student organizations also will compete Monday through Wednesday in the Doomsday Donation Wars, where groups will offer personal hygiene items that will be given to the Center Against Family Violence. The items will be collected in the Campus Activities Board Garage on the first floor of Union Building West.

The major festivities – the parade and the pep rally – start at noon. The parade route could be considered a trick by some. Because of nearby construction on Oregon Street, the parade will start near the Mining Minds sculpture in the roundabout at the western entrance to campus and move east along University Avenue. Participants will go north at Hawthorne Street to Circle Drive where this year’s Distinguished Alumni, Ben Black and Jerry Porras, and the 2011 Gold Nugget Award winners will be dropped off at Memorial Triangle near Magoffin Auditorium.

The pep rally, which starts immediately after the parade, will include remarks from President Diana Natalicio, football head coach Mike Price, introductions of the DAs and Gold Nuggets, a routine by the cheerleaders and a performance by the UTEP band.

“It’s going to be a blast,” said Judge Scott, an Athletics Department marketing assistant who helped organize the pep rally.

Visitor parking is available at the Sun Bowl Parking Garage, Academic Services Building, the Hilton Garden Inn and the perimeter lots. Individuals with special needs who may need to park on campus during Homecoming Week are encouraged to call UTEP’s Parking and Transportation Services office at 915-747-5724.

Alumni Relations will sell $4.50 Homecoming hot dog combos (hot dog, chips and drink) from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Friday at Memorial Triangle.

For the most part, festivities will climax at the Homecoming game that will pit the UTEP Miners against the Colorado State Rams at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Sun Bowl.

For a complete list of student Homecoming activities, visit
http://alumni.utep.edu/ and click on the Homecoming banner.


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