“It’s time to come home,” Ouachita Baptist University’s 2012 Homecoming theme, offers students, faculty and alumni a timely reminder of Ouachita’s close-knit campus community.
“I remember that moment that I’m sure many Ouachita students have had,” said Jon Merryman, the director of Ouachita Alumni, “that first time it slips and you tell your parents you’re headed ‘home’ after Christmas or summer break – and home is Ouachita, not where your parents live.”
With widespread campus renovations recently completed and a variety of great Homecoming events planned, Merryman said there has never been a better time to visit Ouachita than this year’s Homecoming week, Oct. 1-6.
“I love Homecoming!” said Catie Bennett, the president of EEE women’s social club and a member of the Homecoming steering committee. “It is definitely one of my favorite Ouachita events! It is so exciting; from hosting prospective students during GROW, three days of Tiger Tunes and mingling with alumni at OcTiger Fest and the football game.” Along with these traditional events, Ouachita’s brand new Homecoming Street Festival is highly anticipated.
“It is amazing to see people return to Ouachita who are still emotionally invested in this school,” said Justin Young, Ouachita’s Student Senate president. “It just goes to show how much of a home this place really is. People want to come back; they want to invest in this school, because they have seen the impact Ouachita has had on their own lives.”
Ouachita’s Homecoming week will start off on Monday, Oct. 1, with Lunch on the Lawn from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Beta Beta and Rho Sigma men’s social clubs will host campus-wide games at this time. At 12 noon, Eta Alpha Omega will provide root beer floats in Grant Plaza. EEE women’s social club will host car decorating from 3-4:30 p.m. in the lower parking lot of Sturgis Physical Education Center.
On Tuesday, there will be a special Homecoming Chapel at 10 a.m. in Jones Performing Arts Center (JPAC). From 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in Grant Plaza, Chi Delta women’s social club will host a cakewalk and Sigma Alpha Sigma men’s social club will host karaoke. Later that day at 5:30 p.m., the Clark County Alumni Dinner will bring alumni and their families together at Magnolia Manor, the home of Bill and Sherri Phelps.
“Seeing the large number of alumni that return every year and knowing that their love for Ouachita is just as strong today as when they were students here is so encouraging and truly personifies the Tiger for Life mentality that exists on campus,” noted Lindsey Fowler, external vice president for the Ouachita Student Foundation (OSF) and co-chair of OSF’s special events committee.
OSF hosts Tiger Tunes, a longstanding Ouachita tradition, each Homecoming weekend. The musical production raises thousands of dollars for student scholarships and is also designed as a competition among campus clubs and organizations.
Wednesday will begin with the Chamber of Commerce Coffee in the Hickingbotham Hall lobby at 9:30 a.m. Tri Chi women’s social club will host a poster party at 12 noon in the Rachel Fuller & Ouachita Singers Memorial Amphitheater. Also at noon in Grant Plaza, Eta Alpha Omega will provide chilidogs and Chi Rho Phi women’s social club will host a photo booth. After Tiger Tunes dress rehearsal that evening, Student Senate will sponsor a party in the Ouachita Commons as a thank you for Tiger Tunes participants.
“We have had the opportunity to visit these practices with other OSF members and encourage participants as well as convey our gratitude for all the hard work they put into Tiger Tunes each year,” Fowler said. “It would not be a success without their dedication and enthusiasm.”
Thursday, Ouachita’s GROW (Getting Ready for Ouachita’s World) event will kick off as high school juniors and seniors arrive to experience life at Ouachita. Also on Thursday, Chi Delta women’s social club will host T-shirt dyeing in Grant Plaza from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. The first Tiger Tunes performance will be at 7:30 p.m. in JPAC. After Tiger Tunes, Refuge will end the day with worship and a devotional in the Student Village lawn.
On Friday, Oct. 5, at 11 a.m. Ouachita’s 2012 Alumni Milestone Award Panel will be held in JPAC, offering a time of discussion with notable Ouachita alumni. At 12 noon, Eta Alpha Omega will provide Frito chili pie in Grant Plaza. The Class of 2002 will have its 10-year reunion at President Rex Horne’s home at 5:30 p.m. The second performance of Tiger Tunes will begin at 7:30 p.m. in JPAC. After Tiger Tunes, Kappa Chi men’s social club will host a cookout at Speer Pavilion.
Saturday morning, breakfast items will be available for purchase in Evans Student Center’s new Dr. Jack’s Coffeehouse from 8-11 a.m. From 9-11 a.m. on the campus lawn, OcTiger Fest will be hopping with busy social clubs, academic departments and other campus organizations as they host drop-in activities for alumni, guests and current students.
“Our goals for Homecoming,” Merryman said, “are that alumni, former students and friends would come home to Ouachita to connect with friends, classmates, former professors and club members and to leave even more in love with Ouachita than before.”
Also during OcTiger Fest, since this marks Berry Chapel’s 50th anniversary, commemorative photos will be offered at 10 a.m. to couples who were married in this historic building. At 11 a.m., the Tiger Tailgate and Picnic will begin in the A.U. Williams Field parking lots. Pre-game activities will start at 12:30 p.m. on the field and at 1 p.m. the Tiger football team will take on Southwestern Oklahoma. After the Homecoming game, alumni from the 1980s are invited to a 1980s Mixer, a “Totally Gnarly After-Party,” at Dr. Jack’s Coffeehouse.
The final Tiger Tunes performances of the year will begin at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in JPAC, and a new event, the Homecoming Street Festival, will take place on Tiger Alley (5th Street between JPAC and Jones Science Center) from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
“There will be music, lights hung, tables and chairs in the street and some amazing food – Cuban pork tacos and fajitas,” Merryman said. “It’s going to be great!”
Homecoming week activities will conclude with the Eta Alpha Omega Muggin’ event on the Campus Lawn after the final Tiger Tunes performance.
Alumni can reserve all Homecoming event tickets online at www.obualumni.org or call the Ouachita Alumni office at (870) 245-5111. Tiger Tunes tickets must be preordered through the Ouachita Student Foundation (OSF) online at www.obutigertunes.com. A free Tunescast of the 8:30 p.m. Saturday Tiger Tunes performance will be webcast live at www.obusignal.com. Follow the Signal on Twitter @obusignal for more updates as Homecoming week approaches. To register your high school junior or senior for GROW, call (800) DIAL-OBU or visit www.obu.edu/grow.
For more information, contact the director of Ouachita Alumni, Jon Merryman, at (870) 245-5111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Rachel Gregory