The past two Homecomings have been ones for the record books: rushing the field after defeating the Oklahoma Sooners in 2010 and commemorating 100 years of the tradition in 2011.
Despite the daunting predecessors, this year’s Homecoming Steering Committee, headed by directors Richard Devero, Karee Hackel and Jordyn Klackner, has a good feeling.
“We’ve had some pretty exciting homecomings the past two years, so how do we live up to it this year?” Hackel said. “I think we have a huge advantage with our entrance to the SEC. It really gave us momentum that we could work with. Homecoming does a great job of showing Mizzou pride and traditions.”
Homecoming involves many traditions, including Homecoming Royalty, a multi-day blood drive and a talent show for the Greek pairings and triads. Each director is in- charge of certain aspects of the week of festivities. Devero heads the blood drive, merchandise and campus decorations. Hackel is in charge of public relations, traditions and the parade. Klackner heads service, campus outreach, special events and talent.
“We’re there to know all the ins and outs of how homecoming works,” Hackel said. “We’ve been in the SteerCo shoes before – we know what has worked and what hasn’t.”
Carrie Bien, coordinator of student programs at the Mizzou Alumni Association, is the staff adviser for this year’s Steering Committee. It is her fourth year as staff adviser, and she says Homecoming’s built-in audience is its biggest asset.
“This year, the Steering Committee has worked to increase campuswide involvement,” Bien said. “We have new organizations this year that haven’t been involved before. For example, Alternative Spring Break is new this year, along with Motorcyclists of Mizzou.”
Bien says the Steering Committee wanted to reach out to students and groups to make it easier and more accessible to participate in homecoming.
Missouri Student Association Vice President Helena Kooi is one of the top five women on the Homecoming Queen ballot this year. She says that she loves being able to represent her sorority, Kappa Delta, among the student leaders on the court as well.
“From an MSA perspective, I think the most exciting part is bringing Imagine Dragons for this year's homecoming concert,” Kooi said “It is extremely important to us to be a part of the movement to make homecoming more inclusive for the entire campus, and I think an annual homecoming concert is a great step towards achieving this goal.
Kooi says she thinks the most challenging part of this year's homecoming will probably be battling the cold weather and early game, but she’s confident that fans will able to overcome these factors.
“I’m really humbled by the whole thing,” Kaylan Holloway said of being a Homecoming King nominee. “I feel like it means more to students from single parent households, minorities, first generation students or not-so-good neighborhoods.”
Holloway says he praises this year’s Steering Committee for diversifying the royalty ballot.
“This royalty committee is very diverse in ethnicity and in things that they do,” Holloway said. “They made us pick different platforms. It shows that we all represent all the things that Mizzou stands for. I really praise the Steering Committee for their work.”
Hackel said she couldn’t have asked for a better experience throughout her college career.
“Homecoming at Mizzou is a tradition that is near and dear to the hearts of people who love Mizzou,” Hackel said of her involvement for this year. “It’s a huge time commitment, but it’s totally worth it.”