Homecoming season is rich with traditions at MU. From the blood drive to the football game, Homecoming activities are almost nonstop in the two weeks leading up to the game, and a lot of preparation goes into the festivities. It all starts with the selection of the Homecoming theme — this year’s is “Rhythm of the Roar” — and the designing of the logo.
According to one of the tri-directors of the Homecoming Steering Committee, Baylee Francka, the theme was chosen because “it encompassed that everyone here [at MU] has a different rhythm and a slightly different contribution that we make, all going into that one roar, making up this one institution of Mizzou. But each person has a unique contribution to making that happen.”
The theme is one of the first things the Steering Committee addresses after the members are elected in the spring semester each year.
Francka described the process as a group effort that goes beyond just SteerCo.
“Pretty much right after [the Steering Committee is] chosen, we have a big brainstorming session, and they help make a big list ... and vote on their favorite one,” Francka said. “And then the [tri-] directors, along with our advisor, take that back and talk it over with each other and the Mizzou Alumni Association staff, agree upon it and then make the official announcement.”
This is just the beginning of preparation as the 39-member Steering Committee divides into smaller committees to work on specific events. One of these committees is Public Relations, of which Brooke Reynolds is a member. Reynolds, a senior majoring in graphic design, worked on the Homecoming logo for months before it was revealed.
Reynolds handles all graphic design duties for Homecoming along with one other SteerCo member, Rachel Ribolzi. Reynolds said the two of them started working on the logo right after the theme was decided, which was near the end of April 2017, and had a fairly good rough draft by the end of the 2017 spring semester. The revision process continued through June 2017 before it was released on July 8 along with the theme.
“We first kind of just talked about which direction we wanted to go — what we wanted to have included in the logo, what kind of style, you know, we were looking for,” Reynolds said.
It was decided that, given the abstract idea of the theme, the logo would focus primarily on depicting the “roar.”
“From there, Rachel [Ribolzi] kind of helped me narrow it down a little further even,” Reynolds said. “And then, I came up with a couple different things and presented them to Baylee [Francka] and the other tri-directors. They made some critiques and changes, and then it just kind of transformed and eventually made it to how it is today.”
Francka said the Steering Committee is different every year, noting the design of the logo in particular.
“I think that it’s a really cool way for us, as students, to put our artistic touch on it,” Francka said. “And it’s not one person who makes it every year, where you’d kind of expect the same thing every Homecoming. Each year is a very different person with a very distinct style. So it translates into a very unique logo.”
Francka and Reynolds told of the day the logo was presented to the rest of SteerCo.
“Everyone’s like, ‘Yep, that’s the one,’” Francka and Reynolds said in unison.
Francka said that moment was when Homecoming started to come to life.
“We were like, ‘Okay, it’s official! Homecoming’s going to happen. We have a logo now and this is real,’” Francka said. “It’s one thing to see it on a screen, and [Reynolds] showing me, ‘I made this. What do you think?’ But then ... when you see it printed on a shirt and on a button and in the bookstore and people that I don’t know, wearing her logo, it’s amazing.”
SteerCo’s hard work reveals itself in small touches inspired by the theme. When the SteerCo Spotlight revealed Steering Committee members on the Homecoming Facebook page, each member’s mini-profile featured a song, highlighting the different “rhythms” — from country to hip-hop — within the group.
“That’s just kind of cool to see them all together as one playlist,” Reynolds said.
Additionally, organizations participating in the Homecoming competition are able to choose their level of involvement. The four levels, from lowest to highest, are Black and Gold, Columns, Truman and Traditions. The higher levels require participation in more Homecoming events to earn Homecoming points. For example, at the Black and Gold level, organizations earn points from only four events: royalty competition, service, blood drive and decorate the District. The highest level, Traditions, requires involvement in the Black and Gold events as well as the parade, the talent show, campus decorations and more. Smaller organizations can choose the level at which they will be most competitive, playing to their unique “rhythms” or abilities.
“With the four levels, pretty much any campus organization can find a fit somewhere because each does have unique needs and abilities to make these things happen, and so, according to their own rhythm, they can find what best fits them and participate that way,” Francka said.
The sub-theme, “Truman’s Traditions,” also highlights the many different “rhythms” that reside in MU tradition. Given a variety of options that included everything from “Tiger Stripe Ice Cream” to “Swimming in the Fountain,” organizations choose a tradition to guide their individual Homecoming activities, including banner and float design.
“Right now, I’m just kind of holding tight, excited to see how they interpreted it,” Francka said. “We kind of have our ideas for it, but there’s, like the logo, a lot of different ways you could go with it. So I’m excited to see how other people envisioned it too.”
The theme, sub-theme and logo will certainly be seen often around campus as Homecoming season really falls into its rhythm.
Edited by Brooke Collier | firstname.lastname@example.org