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Move-in, Homecoming endure without football

Freshmen moving in last weekend were treated with an unexpected sight, as fellow students were there, ready and eager to help. Members of Ambassadors, as well as a few athletic teams, were there to lend a hand.

In what has become a tradition for first-year residents, the athletes were there to make the first hour or so of the new Lasallians’ experiences a little bit easier. Noticeably missing, however, were some of the biggest bodies known to roam around campus: members of the football team.

Easily the largest of any varsity sport (both in quantity and physical size), football players could be spread throughout the dormitories to carry the televisions, mini-refrigerators and other dorm necessities.

Oh, what the new school year brings.

With the retraction of the football program, the burden of move-in day was transferred throughout the athletic department. That’s not the only area, however, in which the university will have to fill a gaping hole this fall. One particularly large event also comes to mind: Homecoming.

Without the football game to go to, what can alumni and students do from October 24-26? Plenty, says Assistant Vice President of Alumni Relations Jim Gulick.

“We realize that alums identify with La Salle in a number of different ways,” he said. “They have many affinities … whether it’s a student organization, a major, a program or a professor. What we want to do this year is we really wanted to open the campus up.”

Gulick stressed that although there will be no one place where everyone can be together, the event will be a community celebration. “Not having a football game that could be a large gathering place presents a challenge. But I think it also creates a lot of opportunities to highlight not only sports and teams, but a lot of different things around campus.”

Different things indeed. Gulick is sure there will be something for everyone at Homecoming. Along with interdepartmental activities, some highlights will include tours of campus expansion, Carnifall and the traditional crowning of Homecoming King and Queen.

“The State of Philadelphia Sports” will be a hot spot on Saturday, October 25. Alumni working in the field of sports journalism or broadcasting will be on hand for a panel discussion of Philadelphia sports.

“I think [it’s] a great opportunity for our students to come in and not only hear what these folks have to say about the Philadelphia sports scene, but also to have the opportunity to meet these people and talk with them.”

Another event that Gulick is excited for is “Let’s See What Makes La Salle Laugh.” Communication professor Brother Gerry Molyneaux will compile a list of the favorite comic movie scenes of many people around La Salle, and the campus will vote to see what La Salle thinks is the funniest.

According to the La Salle Alumni Web site, participants include Brother Michael McGinniss and men’s basketball head coach John Giannini.

Athletics will still be a part of the weekend. The women’s soccer team has games on Friday night and Sunday afternoon at McCarthy Stadium. The field hockey team will play on Friday afternoon at Hank DeVincent Field. The swimming team has a meet against Drexel on Saturday.

Giannini and women’s basketball head coach Tom Lochner will host open basketball workouts, where alumni and students can get a first look at the team.

The alumni tent on the tennis courts will be the “hub” of activity, according to Gulick. There will be food, a DJ, miniature golf and even a Zoo on Wheels for alums who want to bring their children. In the past, Gulick says, “alums came to campus, went into the tent, did their thing, mixed and mingled, and then went over to the game and then went home.” This year, the goal is for guests to be able to take in all parts of the campus.

“We wanted to get them out on campus and really have them experience campus, and hopefully get a sense of pride for what’s going on here right now.”

The lack of a big football game is not going to slow down the Homecoming celebration. Gulick thinks that the novelty of the weekend will be a good thing. “There’s so much to do. We think it’s going to drive attendance.”

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