The secret behind pomping: from pieces of tissue paper to the decorated boards

In the past, 75 percent of the boards had to be filled with pomps to gain full points with the Campus Decorations judges, said Carolyn Welter, Panhellenic Association’s vice president of public relations. This year, the boards could only be 25 percent pom

Hundreds of people flock to Greektown during Campus Decorations each fall to witness the unveiling of the secret that Greek houses have hidden for months: their famous pomp boards.

MU’s Greek community has been planning this year’s Campus Decorations pomp boards since last year.

Sororities and fraternities paired up last semester through a lottery system to begin designating committees, homecoming liaisons and planning pomp board designs.

“Especially this year, since homecoming was so early, we decided it would be best if (the planning committees) were decided on in the spring and then hit the ground running when they get here in the fall,” Delta Delta Delta President Ashley Kent said.

A pairing’s finished Campus Decorations design consists of multiple pomp boards that can be arranged in various ways to create an overall scene, such as landscapes, backdrops that correspond with each pairing’s theme, Kent said.

“It depends on the chapter, what they want to do, what their design is, but you can either have four stacked on top of four, or have some type of staggering to create a 3-D effect,” Kent said.

Pomping is the process of rolling tissue paper around a pencil, pen or marker, folding the bottom to make a base and gluing it to a pomp board following a predetermined design.

The design is dictated by differing colors of tissue paper, said Carolyn Welter, the Panhellenic Association’s vice president of public relations.

“If you’re doing the columns with a blue background, you’ll have blue tissue paper for the background and some lighter grey and darker grey to make the columns,” Welter said. ““It’s kind of like ‘color between the lines.’”

There are different sizes of pomping, too, Kent said.

“You can have fat marker pomps, skinny marker pomps, pencil pomps and even lollipop pomps,” Kent said.

Different pairings decide to start the process of pomping at different times, Kent said.

“Some pairings start immediately after sorority formal recruitment bid day, and then some pairings wait a little bit to try to get the first syllabus week out of the way,” Kent said. “It really just depends on the date of Homecoming, but we do like to start it early so we’re not rushing at the very end.”

The Alumni Association appoints a homecoming committee that sets the requirements for Campus Decorations, Welter said.

In the past, 75 percent of the boards had to be filled with pomps to gain full points with the Campus Decorations judges, Welter said. This year, the boards could only be 25 percent pomped, with paint or glitter being the typical materials covering the rest of the board.

Members of each chapter must work on average four to six hours pomping each week before Homecoming, Kent said. She said this can increase depending on the speed of progress and if pomps need to be redone.

The pairings have 24 hours to set up their boards before judging begins, and they cannot start before.

Kent said everyone works through the night to set up their campus decorations.

“It’s a fun night, though,” Kent said. “It’s one of those nights that people look forward to in a sense because it’s exciting that it’s starting, and you’re ready to just see the finished product.”

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