NKU’s homecoming to focus more on future than past

Northern Kentucky University and the Homecoming Committee are bringing in the new year by inspiring students to visualize the future of the campus while participating in weeklong events during Homecoming 2011: The Future is Now!

The Future is Now! is about celebrating and creating the future that students want to see for NKU as returning alumni see the growth the campus has undergone since graduating. Although the campus is not the only place transforming — the homecoming week events are also going to see some changes.

Homecoming chairman Chris Ruth is anxious and excited about the new events, especially the Nearly Naked Mile Fun Run, and an increase in participation outside of Student Life and Greek members. After participating in homecoming for the past four years, Ruth has been “disappointed in the participation by the student body.”

As chairman for the first time, one of Ruth’s goals for homecoming is to encourage participation from the entire student body, instead of just 500 out of about 16,000 students. By extending team registration an extra week, Ruth is hoping to bring in more students.

The Nearly Naked Mile Run is one of the biggest changes to homecoming. As the kickoff event, “we’ve really stepped out of our comfort zone,” Ruth said. Replacing the Relay for Life event, the Nearly Naked Mile Run is risky, but was created to just be fun for participants and supporters.

On Friday, Jan. 21, at 8 p.m., the starting gun will be fired at the Albright Health Center and the nearly naked runners will run the half-mile in the winter weather. Each team must pay $5 to sponsor their runner; the $5 fee will be donated to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

After the run, the night will continue with a Kick-Off Party also in the health center. Not only will there be plenty of free food (Gold Star Chili included), but a mechanical bull and several other competitions, like jousting and Twister on an inflatable mat, will also be available to party-goers. The party is free, but donations for NKU’s Up Till Dawn event will be accepted.

Step Afrika! on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. in Greaves Hall is another new addition to the week. Based out of Washington, D.C., this part-stepping, part-poetry slam show offers the audience the history and symbolic nature of the cultural expression in step dancing.

In addition to new events, there is a new division of teams, the White Division. The White Division will consist of six teams, organized by each of the residence halls. The Black Division is now for student organizations with less than or equal to 50 members and the Gold Division is for organizations with 51 or more.

The hall decorating competition is another new event for the White Division only. Each residence hall is expected to decorate in the spirit of homecoming and will be judged Jan. 28 at 3:30 p.m.

All of the costs of homecoming week — registration fees, admission ticket prices to the talent show and Gala — go to the homecoming funds to continue the week-long event every year. Although many students are strapped for cash after the holiday season, prices have never posed problems for students in the past, according to Programs Coordinator Josh Gruenke.

For more information on this year’s events, contact Chris Ruth at ruthc1@nku.edu.

Story by Claire Higgins