UNCA changes homecoming season from winter to fall

Excited sisters of Gamma Phi Beta bring energy to the homecoming parade. Photo by Laura Hoffman.
Excited sisters of Gamma Phi Beta bring energy to the homecoming parade. Photo by Laura Hoffman.

Laura Hoffman
Sports Staff Writer
lhoffma3@unca.edu

As UNC Asheville gears down from the hectic homecoming activities, there seems to be a common theme in the opinions of most: the weather was beautiful and there were no gloves involved for the first time in a long time. The cool fall weather complimented all of the homecoming festivities throughout the weekend.

The university, with the help of alumni, made a huge decision to have a more traditional homecoming schedule this semester.

With mixed emotions from current students and alumni, a noticeable rift came to fruition concerning the correct choice of season for homecoming.

Juliana Grassia, a 23-year-old UNCA alumna from Colts Neck, New Jersey, now works as the university’s alumni relations coordinator.

As an alumna, Grassia said she was asked her opinion on the change. She said there was talk about moving the celebration to warmer weather for a long time, and since the reaction was positive, the move happened this year.

“One of the biggest comments was that February is just a difficult time to have a big university event because of the unpredictability of weather,” said Grassia, “how cold it can be and with the past two years being so frigid during homecoming.”

As a seasoned homecoming veteran, Grassia said alumni and the administration thought the university would not lose much if they tried to make the change for homecoming to happen in October.

Charlie White, the 20-year-old SGA president from North Port, Florida, said the switch to fall will hopefully bring more of an alumni presence on campus because UNCA now has a more traditional homecoming schedule.

Personally, I think the switch to fall will give us much nicer weather and bring homecoming to campus while the leaves are changing, which I believe will make it more enjoyable than when it’s cold in the winter,” said White, a senior political science student.

With student and alumni events combining with traditions like Turning of the Maples, the pre-game tailgate, a vicious big wheel race on the quad, the colorful parade winding through campus and, of course, crowning a homecoming king and queen, the weekend was filled with activities to bring current students and alumni together.

Tara Carr, a 21-year-old psychology student from Charlotte, won the title of homecoming queen in the spring of 2015. She is currently studying abroad in Spain.

Carr said she is sad homecoming clashed with her studying abroad schedule because she loves all the activities so much and wished to be a part of the festivities one last time.

I do not like the idea of homecoming in the fall because I feel like we are such a basketball-based school, it is weird to have it around soccer,” said Carr. “I love soccer, but there is nothing like basketball in North Carolina.”

With all the main activities in the fall semester now, Carr said there will not be any fun activities in the spring semester, if the university chooses to keep this a permanent change.

Angela Kroninger, a 21-year-old health and wellness student from Raleigh, took the title of homecoming queen at Saturday’s soccer game against Winthrop.

“Being on court is a great honor, I love this school and the community here,” said Kroninger. “I am so excited to represent my home and everyone here.”

Since autumn is Kroninger’s favorite season, she said she believes the fall foliage and atmosphere will draw alumni back into the mountains to celebrate their alma mater.

Kroninger said the change from a spring homecoming to a fall one is going to take some getting used to. Adjusting to the change is just part of the process for her.

“I am not upset about it,” Kroninger said. “I think it is different and change always takes time and adjustments to get used to and work with.”

There definitely exists a split between students in regards to changing one of the few traditions of UNCA. Alumni seem to welcome the change with open arms.

Juliana Grassia has seen the days of freezing homecoming parades come and go, and now she is excited to see a new chapter in the university’s history begin.

“I remember my first homecoming wearing mittens and leg warmers just trying to stay cozy,” said Grassia. “It is definitely difficult when you want to have fun, but it is just so cold outside.”

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