Pregame and pep rally for homecoming

Danielle Campbell Copy Editor

Excitement. Fun. Food. The first pregame and pep rally in a year was a success. Students entered the front of Jess Dow Field to sign into the pre-game rally, where they got a ticket for the big raffle at the end of the night at the pep rally. They also had the option to enter one of three other raffles that included a catch a punt contest, score a goal on the athletic director and best touchdown dance contest.  

Thursday, Oct. 15 was the Homecoming pre-game and pep rally. Once they got past the check-in table, they saw a crowd of their peers, food, a DJ, and games.  

Nursing major Sam Kaufman, a junior, said, “So I came out to pep rally to hang out with one of my coworkers because I’m trying to be, like, personable instead of just spending all my time doing homework.” 

The students seemed shy to get up and dance at first until the night’s MCs, Bernardo Mbaya and Gary Robinson got the crowd going. DJ Prestige helped the MCs get the students dancing with songs like “Cupid Shuffle”, “Wobble”, and the “Cha Cha Slide”.  

Communications disorders major Leah Karaban, a senior, said, “I am really excited to come to this event because it’s my first pep rally, ever. When I transferred here, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to homecoming in 2019, so this will be like my first one as a senior which I think is really interesting. I’m super excited to see everything for the first time. And I love the free food and free merch. We love free stuff.” 

The pep rally was noticeably missing last year, and students and staff alike are excited to be back on campus for this staple homecoming event. 

Eric Lacharity, associate director of Student Involvement & Leadership Development, was excited to be back in person.  

“The goal for tonight was, I mean it’s been two years since we’ve done a pep rally. We really wanted to bring back that sense of spirit. That sense of, you know, just a real like love and excitement for Southern. So, what better way to do it [than] with food, music, giveaways, games, t-shirts, all that good stuff. And just, we want people to feel good, out and about on campus. We did outside so people can give themselves some distance and feel good about the fresh air. You know, just have some fun, that’s all.” 

President Joe Bertolino was also in attendance to support students and enjoy the festivities. “I’m excited that all of our students are having a good time and that they’re excited and that everybody is present. And we’re here to support one another, so it’s going to be a great weekend and our alumni are going to come back and they’re going to be proud. And our students are going to be proud, so it’s all good.” 

There was a cornhole station, a football-shaped “ride the bull” type ride where students had to sign waivers to get on and a wrecking ball where you wear a helmet and hit your friends with a wrecking ball. 

Nursing major Bryannah Horne, a freshman, was excited about her first pep rally and wanted to see what it was like. She said, “I saw it on social media, and I also heard about it throughout the week. And you know since it’s my first homecoming as a college student I wanted to come out and see and experience it. 

The Pep Rally was opened up by the Blue Steel drumline, who came and performed as they walked out. The MCs from earlier in the night were at the Pep Rally trying to figure out which side of the crowd is louder.  

“For me, it’s exciting to see our students be thriving, you know I think the owl ways, our culture and our process how we get better. And this is a great testament to that. So, our culture is driven through people and these types of events are driven by people so it makes me even more excited to see what we can be, but this is a great step for us, and it really is defining the owl way and doing it together,” said Athletic Director Chris Barker. 

The athletic teams all came out with their own theme songs. Women’s Volleyball came out to “Toco Toco To” by Dixson Waz and the Football team came out to “La Mamá de la Mamá” by El Alfa. The energy was high between the thirteen teams that all had their own high-powered entrances. A member of the men’s baseball team came out and took his shirt off to “Way Too Sexy” by Drake and one of the men’s soccer team came out on the shoulders of a teammate to “Macarena” by Los Locos.  

The rally featured the previously mentioned raffles, and, in the best touchdown dance, the winning participant did a flip into a split. The dance team performed to a Megan the Stallion medley. 

Students who had never been to a pep rally before were excited and intrigued. Finance major and international student Tian Zixuan, a junior, said, “I did pretty enjoy the pep rally and I was so excited! This is my first time watched pep rally. I am emerging in different American cultures, and this is new to me!” 

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