During a long-standing tradition for Eastern Michigan University, students and alumni joined in the festivities as Saturday’s game quickly approached.
Homecoming means different things to different people and the experience is as unique as the EMU fans living it. For coaches and players, it means enjoying the support of the university as they count down to game day. Alumni come to reconnect with old friends while freshmen join in to make some new ones.
The campus community picnic on Wednesday was an opportunity for many to connect and taste some delicious food. Channel 95.5 was on hand with a slew of fun including the dance-off where students competed for tickets to the Detroit Pistons.
It was also an opportunity for many to sport their loyalty with the T-shirt swap. Students could trade in another team’s shirt for some Eastern swag and proudly display their support for the team.
Among the students attending was Keith Keusch, turning out for the events.
“I came for the free food and T-shirt swap,” Keusch said.
He and his friends were already sporting their Eagle swag.
“I’m here for the T-shirt swap and poster sale as well,” added Victor Randazzo, also enjoying the festivities.
Free food, lively tunes and good friends filled the patio outside the Student Center. The picnic was also filled with EMU alumni that came out for the event, including two former students and Eastern Echo staff members Jim Streeter and Randy Mascharka.
Streeter was the sports editor for the university newspaper during his time as a student and Mascharka is a former sports photographer. As they spoke about who would win the homecoming game, a unanimous word of “Oh, without a doubt!” came from the group.
On Thursday afternoon, the Student Center patio played host to the EMU block party with more fun, food and friends. The Channel 95.5 crew was again in attendance to liven up the crowd with a limbo and hula-hoop contest.
Booths lined the area, with local businesses and vendors offering some great discounts to students and showing their support for the team.
Among the businesses in attendance were student favorites such as Happy’s Pizza, Maiz Mexican Restaurant and Jimmy John’s, all offering samples and prizes.
Many businesses, such as Puffer Red’s, were not just in attendance to offer deals but to show support as EMU graduates.
Alumna Daisha Mitchelle, who graduated from EMU in 2011 with a degree in textile and merchandising, now manages Puffer Red’s, along with senior Bobby McFarline.
Freshman and biology major Brittney Boykin was one of the hundreds of freshmen that came out for the block party. She said she chose to come to EMU for the environment it offers.
“I felt like I belonged here,” she said.
Veterans of the festivities remarked that this year’s block party was one of the liveliest in EMU history with such a strong turnout of new and returning students.
Junior Tiffany Vrabel was hosting a booth representing the The Rocket novelty and candy shop on Michigan Avenue. She said this block party was different compared to previous ones.
“Much better turnout,” she said. “More diversity this year and lots more students.”
Student Cheyenne Daniels and friends Kayla Fuller, Yuri Deloof and Purity Hedenburg were soaking up the event and enjoying their time.
“We came looking for food and new friends,” Daniels said.
Students can check out some of the pictures and rehash the fun on channel 95.5’s home page and use the hashtag #TRUEMU.
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