By: Lou Stein
This week I was caught up in preparation for midterms. I was busy with the usual things like settling my affairs, studying, updating my will, and begging for extensions. In the midst of this monotony, a first-year- who I am but the briefest acquaintance of- approached me in the library.
“Lou,” he began, shifting his weight nervously from side to side. “I’m worried about homecoming. It’s my first one here at Loras. At my high school there was always huge parties and traditions that everyone played along with. Is there anything like that here that I should be aware of?”
Rather than answer outright, I told him to hold that thought- this was after all perfect fodder for a Lorian Article. And so after waiting several days for this to print, he can finally have my response! First, let me say that there are several traditions that you need to be aware of. Loras is the oldest college in the state of Iowa and as such, we have traditions that began long before the civil war! Ah homecoming, it is hard not to get swept up in the school spirit. It’s a magical time of year when the alumni return to campus, each dressed in a metaphorical representation of their favorite building. Last year too many people came as Hoffman, and I’m hoping recent renovations will inspire a few more Keanes. Or who could forget the science hall chili competition, where the local shaman, mad scientists, and faculty slop together mysterious stews that can be described as ‘chili’ by scent only. There is of course, the week-long veneration of President Collins. For those new students, it’s the standard genuflection every time you see him enter a room and pledging your absolute allegiance to Purple and Vegas Gold. There is mandatory tail-gating by the tennis courts. A simple affair where for three hours, Loras’s most notable alumni Don Amache is resurrected and holds a Q & A panel about the political climate of 1920 Hollywood.
There are the more “optional” traditions as well. The football game, for example, where we screech like birds at every Duhawk-first-down and communicate to each other exclusively through caws, and squawks to through off the opposing team. There is also the highly popular Du the Pub Night; when all willing students storm the pub at midnight the Sunday after the big game and sing the Loras fight song in an attempt to summon the ghost of Bishop Loras. Attendees are recommended to bring fresh produce, and their most recent memories of heartbreak. There is the well-known tradition, when we inevitably lose the football game, where we one by one respectfully weep on the statue of lay-up Jesus, the sole symbol of athletic fortitude on this campus. But my personal favorites are the simple things, listening to the band’s half-time show, if they are allowed to play; and stumbling across campus for the senior reenactment of “Miracle Mile” the 1988 dramatic sci-fi masterpiece by Steve De Jarnatt. This year, I’m hoping to secure the role of “Drunk Man in Diner.” Loras homecoming is surely unlike any other, and as new students, I encourage everyone to get in on the action and perhaps start a few of your own traditions as well.