Homecoming events draw above-estimate crowds

authorThis year’s Homecoming gala and the week of events surrounding it drew above-estimate crowds as Student Association and Program Board planners brought traditional, student-organized Homecoming celebration back after two years of overshadowing by University events.

“We had not sold as many tickets (for the gala) by Wednesday as we had hoped, but we ended up extending the number of guests by 100 Friday night,” said Jill Hasegawa, PB chair of the Homecoming Committee.

Heidi Wicker, a Homecoming Committee member, said this year’s gala was more successful than planners could have imagined. PB estimated that 560 undergraduate students, graduate students and alumni attended the Friday night gala at the Washington Marriott.

Tickets were sold for $20, which included a buffet and music. Guests also received a mask, in keeping with the masquerade theme.

Students gathered at the gala until about 1:30 in the morning.

“Although this year’s gala does not compare to the Union Station event (for GW’s 175th anniversary two years ago), it was fun,” said Tamara Bullock, a junior.

At the gala, the Homecoming Committee announced juniors Patrick Macmanus and Carrie Potter won the first Mr. and Ms. GW contest.

“Mr. and Ms. GW is something that we just started to encourage school spirit,” said Heather Roark, SA director for Homecoming.

Roark said the committee took nominations from staff, faculty and student leaders for students who represent GW on and off campus.

From those nominations, the committee developed a candidate list and students voted by ballot throughout Homecoming Week.

The winners of Mr. and Ms. GW will have lunch with GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg and develop a community service project for the entire school.

Potter and Macmanus’ first encounter was not their victory dance at the gala, but rather last year’s elections for at-large undergraduate SA senator, in which both won seats, placing first and second, respectively.

“It is fitting that students aiming to be future leaders of the GW student body were chosen as representatives of GW spirit,” Potter said.

The gala neared the end of the 1998 Homecoming Week. Activities began Wednesday night with a free show at the Improv Comedy Club for graduate students and alumni.

The celebration continued Thursday with a wine and cheese party for graduate students and alumni.

The Diva Nite Lounge was the site of the Homecoming After-Party Saturday night, although all students did not get the discount they were expecting.

Students were told they would be charged $6 with a GWorld ID. But, after 11 p.m., students were charged $10, according to SA President Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar.

“The contract was never officially signed,” Golparvar said. “It was a miscommunication.”

He said the place was “packed” despite the additional price.

In total, Homecoming Week cost its sponsors, the SA and the PB $19,000, Hasegawa said.

Wicker said PB underestimated the number of students who would attend each event, and that planners were pleased with the large turnouts.

Roark said that in previous years, Homecoming Week has been dominated by one event, such as the 175th anniversary gala in 1996.

“This year we worked hard to make the entire week really big,” Roark said.

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