About 50 groups have helped prepare the 2012 homecoming festivities, including greek, resident life, athletic and alumni affairs organizations. Alpha Omicron Pi sorority is among them.
Sorority member Emary Ruppert said her sisters will be participating in the Student Life LipSync with a Celebrity Impersonator contest, “Yell Like Hell” pep rally, “Scrappy’s Wardrobe” contest, powder puff tournament, fashion show, “NestFest Kanstruction” that collects cans for outreach programs. They’ve also built a float for Saturday’s parade and have two sisters on the homecoming court.
“The hardest part is all the preparation,” the Sandy Springs 22-year-old said. “But when you go and see your team win, it’s really fun.”
Ruppert said the homecoming events help “create a better campus culture.”
“Kennesaw is trying to build traditions that established schools like Georgia already have,” she said. “Our culture is in transition because we were a commuter school. The focus is going more towards on-campus stuff.”
As of June 2011, 59,149 students have graduated from Kennesaw State, which was established in 1963 as a two-year junior college. About 35 percent of those are from Cobb, university spokesman Robert Godlewski said.
Homecoming events kicked off Wednesday night with a program that recognized three distinguished alumni and a staff member.
The alumni awards were presented to Michael Quinlan, who earned his degree in finance from the Coles College of Business in 1987; Jerry Samples, who earned a master’s of science in applied computer science in 2004; and Katherine Wood, who earned her master’s in adolescent education in 2005 and an educational leadership degree in 2009.
Dr. Daniela Tapu of the College of Science and Mathematics received the Betty L. Siegel Award.
Additional homecoming activities include:
* today: KAB Novelty Giveaway, 12 to 3 p.m., Campus Green; NestFest Field Games, 3 p.m., University Place field; and NestFest Pep Rally, 7 p.m., University Place Amphitheater.
* Friday: SGA/VKSU The Big Event: Our Owls Outreach, 9 a.m., University Rooms; soccer match KSU vs. UNF, 7 p.m., KSU Stadium; Alumni Happy Hour Tour of Marietta Square, 6:30 p.m., Marietta Square; and KAB Blacklight & Gold Rave, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., University Rooms.
* Saturday: volleyball, KSU vs. Mercer, 3 p.m., Convocation Center; Homecoming Parade through campus, 5 p.m.; “Flight Night,” Men’s & Women’s basketball preview and homecoming court presentation, 7 p.m., Convocation Center; and a concert featuring J. Dash & Ying Yang Twins, 8:30 p.m., Campus Green, followed by fireworks.
* Sunday: Parent & Family Association Brunch, 11 a.m., The Commons; soccer match, KSU vs. JU, 1 p.m., KSU Stadium and KAB Fashion Show & Concert, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Convocation Center.
Kennesaw State began hosting homecoming in 1984. Dr. Michael Sanseviro, dean of student success, said he’s been working to make the celebration bigger and better since he joined the staff in late 2009.
“The first homecoming was started by the student activities board and focused predominantly on student spirit,” he said. “It grew from there, but then for some reason kind of went away for awhile.”
Sanseviro helped create a strategic planning group to revamp homecoming festivities at the state’s third largest university.
He said the celebration is important not only to increase school pride, it also “helps current students feel good about their school when they see people coming back for events like homecoming.”
“KSU is connected to something larger than ourselves,” he said. “When you think about that spirit and philanthropy … a lot of that comes from alumni and community contributions, and we get great support at one level. But the more homecoming grows and people commit to it, it helps people see how much we’ve changed and grown. It helps us to become a nationally recognized institution.”