Homecoming Steering Committee plans to address concerns with participation, diversity

The committee hopes for increased involvement from students, staff members and student organizations.

In recent years, some students have expressed concerns about the inclusivity of and lack of awareness about Homecoming events. For 2012, there are plans to address those concerns through increased participation and diversity.

"There's always the issue of people believing homecoming is too Greek-focused," said Karee Hackel, a 2012 Homecoming Steering Committee director. "But our goal (is) to better incorporate everyone on campus and (help them) be aware of (as many of) the Homecoming events as possible."

The committee directors reached out to various campus organizations this year and encouraged students to apply for this year's Homecoming Steering Committee, Hackel said.

"We are looking for a diverse and (strong) Steering Committee, (and) are looking for the best leaders," she said. "We want to incorporate Greek Life, Residential Life (and) all organizations on campus. We're just looking for some really creative, outstanding leaders."

Coordinator of Student Programs Carrie Bien also said she wants the committee to be a more diverse group.

"We think that it is very important that the Homecoming Steering Committee be representative of our campus," she said. "We want homecoming to be a program that all students on campus are interested in."

In response to concerns about inclusivity, the committee plans to improve its methods for informing students about Homecoming events all across campus.

"We're going to utilize social media as best as we can," Hackel said. "We believe it is one of the best methods to reach everybody. There is talk of a master calendar, but it is not definitive yet. It would show all events going on in the different colleges (and organizations) that others may not be aware of but want to take part in."

The efforts to include more student organizations in the planning of homecoming is running parallel to a Homecoming task force sponsored by the Mizzou Alumni Association, Bien said.

"(The task force) hasn't started meeting yet, but they are going to meet a couple times," she said. "It is a group for students and staff on campus to have an open conversation about what we can do to make sure all students feel engaged and involved in Homecoming."

The task force would allow various campus organizations to meet, work together and discuss concerns about next year's events, Hackel said.

"We want to make this welcoming for everyone," she said. "We have reached out to many organizations on campus, and (want to) collect as much input as possible. Through the task force we plan to work together and find applicable solutions."

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