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There will be plenty for those young and old and in-between to cheer about duringWOU Homecoming Week.
October 03, 2012
MONMOUTH -- School pride can be measured in pennants, team colors and cheers. That's never more apparent than at a home football game.
For Western Oregon University, that festivity starts on Monday, the kickoff for Homecoming 2012. The weeklong celebration will feature a host of activities and programs, culminating with the Alumni Reunion Weekend and the Wolves' matchup with Dixie State on Oct. 13.
Scale is the difference for this year's event; it's bigger than before and includes new additions such as the inaugural "Undie Run" -- yes, you read that correctly -- and a fireworks display joining the powder puff football game and other traditions. Homecoming is also happening earlier than normal.
"We're trying to keep student interest up," said Stephen Cucchiara, WOU coordinator for student activities and organizations. "We're coming off the start of (fall term) and the energy is high."
Whether it's size, proximity to larger universities, a nontraditional enrollment base or simply resources, Western gets occasionally knocked for apathy when it comes to school pride -- unfair or not.
"We're small, we don't really have the same hype for homecoming like a bigger school might," said Audra Rhodes, an undergraduate and director of the student activities board. "I would relate that to how popular their athletic program is and how televised it is."
It's improved at WOU in recent years, Rhodes continued. And several campus and student organizations, residence halls, the city of Monmouth and local businesses have collaborated for Homecoming 2012.
"We want to build more school spirit, that's our goal," she said.
Oktoberfest will take place in the Werner University Center plaza with a full meal and a beer garden by Gilgamesh Brewing on Tuesday.
The university has gotten the green light from Monmouth to paint a large, permanent Wolf athletic logo on Church Street as it sits on campus and to conduct a fireworks display near McArthur Field on Oct. 10.
"They're not high, aerial fireworks like those during the Fourth of July," Cucchiara said. "We'll be sending letters out to residents this week."
On Oct. 11, Carlos Alazraqui and Cedric Yarbrough, who portrayed Deputies Garcia and Jones, respectively, on Comedy Central's faux-police program "RENO 911!" will perform at the Werner University Center.
Another way to build up buzz? The Undie Run. Students and community members are welcomed to strip down to their undergarments -- participants aren't allowed to be nude -- and run a loop down Monmouth Avenue, Jackson Street and back to Stadium Drive.
Clothes that are shed will be donated to Union Gospel Mission in Salem and to a Western clothing swap. Rhodes said she and others had to clear the run with Campus Public Safety, the Alumni Association and school leaders.
"That one was a long shot," Rhodes said of the seemingly risque nature of the run. "But we're going with it."
Check It Out
Western Oregon University's Homecoming 2012 will run Monday through Oct. 13. Many of the events are free and open to community members. For a complete schedule and details, visit www.wou.edu/student/sla/homecoming.php or call 503-838-8514.
Monday -- Homecoming Kickoff, 4 p.m., WUC Plaza; WOU Undie Run, 5 p.m.; Wolf Crawl, Main Street Pub and Yeasty Beasty, 6 p.m.
Tuesday -- Oktoberfest, 11 a.m., WUC Plaza; Paint the Wolf, noon, Church Street.
Oct. 10 -- Fireworks display, 8:30 p.m., McArthur Field.
Oct. 11 -- Comedy performance featuring cast members from "RENO 911!," 8 p.m., Rice Auditorium. Cost is $2.
Oct. 12 -- Powder puff football game, 7 p.m., McArthur Stadium; Bonfire Pep Rally, 9 p.m., field north of Hamersly Library.
Oct. 13 -- WOU vs. Dixie State football game, 1 p.m., McArthur Stadium.