MU Homecoming kicks off with series of service events, gives back to community

MU celebration began with a series of events including the Tiger Food Fight, Game on Tiger Strong 5K race, Blood Drive, among others.
The Game on Tiger Strong 5K was held on Oct. 7, 2018, and included more than 420 participants. Courtesy of Twitter via Mizzou Homecoming

This year’s MU Homecoming kick-off events aim to serve the community, including the Tiger Food Fight, annual Blood Drive, Game On Tiger Strong [Homecoming] 5k, Day Of Service and Roaring For Rainbow House.

The “food fight” was a food drive and the first event in the series of kick-off events. The event took place in front of the Student Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28. Greek life, campus organizations, residence halls and other members of the MU community had the opportunity to donate canned food directly to the food drive.

All of the food collected went directly to The Food Bank For Central and Northeast Missouri. According to the food bank’s Twitter account, 26,764 pounds of food was collected throughout the course of the event.

Caroline Dade, one of the homecoming service events directors of the 2018 Homecoming Steering Committee, said the event provided substantial assistance to the area.

“It’s a very cool and tangible way to see how the Mizzou community gave back to the local community,” Dade said.

The Game On Tiger Strong 5K is a tradition that returned to the Homecoming celebration last fall. The race attracted more than 420 participants whose ages ranged from 12 to 65.

“It’s one of the kick-off events in Homecoming that can get everyone’s spirit up,” Trent Wideman, one of the co-directors of the Steering Committee said. “We purposely crafted the route around some of the scenic spots on campus such as the Jesse Hall, Francis Quadrangle, and Rec Center.”

Jacob Detering, a sophomore studying health science finished the race with the first place. Detering has run races since high school and has participated in multiple 5K races on his own. He said although the weather condition wasn’t ideal, he enjoyed the overall atmosphere along the route.

“Winning was really cool, especially when I was able to beat my friend [Andy Pogue] who was right behind me by a second or so,” Detering said. “I won a bouncy ball, a fidget spinner and an XL T-shirt, which was bit underwhelming. But I would most likely run in the Homecoming 5K again next year.”

In addition, Day of Service was one of the traditions in Homecoming history. Groupings had the option to work with local philanthropies where they were given a span of three weeks before the actual day of service on Oct. 6th. Groupings were asked to provide 50 volunteers who will each complete a shift, which lasts for two hours. Dade thinks this year’s turnout is incredible. She believes the event portrayed the idea of not only giving back to the Columbia community but also expanding the impact to all of Central Missouri. “There were more than 2100 hours of services completed through the course of three weeks including the actual day of service,” Dade said. “It wasn’t just within Columbia, either. We even had volunteers at the Second Chance animal rescue close to Boonville.”

The last major service-oriented event, Roar for the Rainbow House, took place from Oct.12-14. Members of traditional groups, all of the Panhellenic-associated Greek organizations, asked for donations for the community at local grocery stores in the Columbia community.

Rainbow House is a local, non-profit organization dedicated to keeping children safe and supporting families in crisis through prevention, assessment and intervention in child abuse and neglect, according to their website.

“This is our first time partnering with the Rainbow House,” Dade said. “In the past, all the money we fundraised went to the local food bank. People can either give tangible items from Rainbow House’s wishlist or monetary donations.Throughout the weekend, we raised $5,005, and hundreds of dollars worth of items from the wishlist were donated. We are excited about having different ways and accesses to give back to our local community through Homecoming.”

Edited by Morgan Smith | mosmith@themaneater.com

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