More than just fun and games, homecoming is a week filled with competition, teamwork, togetherness, nostalgia and pride.
Following tradition, homecoming week, sponsored by Student Activities Council, started off with team mixers and then continued with the usual line-up of knowledge bowl, BU Olympics and skit night. A pep rally and bonfire will add to the festivities today, and the week will be capped off with Saturday's football game and party at The Salt Mine.
For some Baker University students, homecoming was about the competition. Greek teams and an independent team duke it out to have their names placed on the award plaques in Harter Union. Director of Student Activities Shelby Coxon said she was happy participants kept competition to a reasonable level.
"One thing that I do like about (homecoming at Baker) is that it's not near as competitive as at other schools," she said. "It can get ugly at larger schools."
Senior Kelly Baird is a member of SAC and was the overseer of the events. She said competition and tradition are major themes during homecoming.
"I feel like a lot of people get really competitive during homecoming week, and that brings out a lot of emotion," she said. "I kind of feel like people know that this night is going to be the knowledge bowl and this night is going to be the olympics, and if we changed that, they would be upset."
Competition is less of a priority for others. To students like junior Tracie Spring, Phi Mu sorority homecoming candidate, the memories created are what matter most.
"I think there is a little bit of competition and a little bit sadness for the seniors that are leaving," she said. "I'm going to miss just me and all my friends doing things as a group. It gives you a feeling of solidarity."
Coxon said homecoming was one of her favorite college memories.
"For the greeks, there might be someone on your team you only kind of know," Coxon said. "For independents, you get a chance to meet with people you normally don't. I think it really brings the campus together."
Sophomore Trevor Racine likes the opportunity to get involved.
"I think my favorite thing is going to be BU Olympics," he said. "It's just a ton of fun, and a lot of people go out for that, and a lot of people get to participate."
The week of competition ends Saturday with the football game against Missouri Valley College. Some view it as both the grand finale and the sad closing to the week.
"For me - you know me, I'm the crazy guy that goes out in spandex and face paint - (the week) is the icing on top of the game," Racine said. "I look forward to the festivities because the game is after it."
Sophomore Ashlee Cornett, SAC recreation coordinator, also recognized the importance of the game.
"The football game is the final big thing of the week," she said. "Each night there seems to be more energy and more excitement ... and then it finally explodes at the game."
The game isn't considered a special event only by the fans. Sophomore Andrew Bibb and junior Matt Hiss said the homecoming football game is a special experience for the players as well, especially against a highly ranked team.
"We upset (Missouri Valley) last year, and we're looking to do that again," Hiss said.
Bibb said he was looking forward to playing in the homecoming game because Missouri Valley is such a good team.
"We're playing a really good team and I would love to knock them off their ranking," he said.
Hiss said homecoming would also bring distractions to the game.
"It brings more fans, and there's more stuff going on," he said. "I try to tune it out, but it's nice to have stuff bring attention to the game."