This past week, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette hosted its annual homecoming events with slight changes to how the events have looked in the past.
Long-standing traditions such as the homecoming game, homecoming court, Yell Like Hell, Paint the Town Red and Wear Red Get Fed were upheld this year. However, due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, the established homecoming parade and block party were not conducted.
As a substitution for these two events, the university hosted a movie night on Tuesday night, featuring the film “The Invisible Man.” The university also presented a weeklong scavenger hunt for students to partake in, as they had to search for miniature footballs hidden on campus.
When this semester’s homecoming schedule was initially announced, the administration asked that students abide by current social distancing guidelines from Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Abby Brannon, a sophomore and member of Kappa Delta, participated in her sorority’s homecoming board, along with Yell Like Hell and the homecoming game.
As an attendee, Brannon shared the struggles the university had with practicing social distancing at Yell Like Hell. “They attempted to distance us, but it was so awkward and no one was listening, so they basically gave up.”
Though this semester’s turnout was considerably large, certain students still felt unsafe attending these events.
Kelvin Drexler, a sophomore in broadcasting, has attended homecoming events in the past semesters. This year, however, he decided not to attend for safety reasons.
“Too many killings and corona is still a problem,” Drexler said. “Recently at the parties for Lafayette, there’s been a lot of shootings, including the young dude who died at the party at the park.”
Drexler was referring to the shooting at Moore Park on Oct. 15. The attack occurred at a party after a UL Lafayette football game and resulted in two deaths.
“It’s too much honestly. I want to go, but I’m not trying to catch a bullet when I’m really trying to have a good time,” he continued.
Drexler also expressed a fear of contracting COVID-19 at one of UL Lafayette’s social gatherings.
He said he did not intend to attend any occasions hosted by the university next semester because he feels the administration has been too lenient in terms of social distancing.
Brannon also participated in pomping for Kappa Delta’s homecoming board. “We had a really small group of us pomping, literally only three of us, and we were spaced out.”
Brannon said the UL Lafayette homecoming game on Saturday was more efficient in their distancing. “The football game was pretty distanced. I went with a group of four girls, and they asked us to sit separately, which I thought was weird since other people were sitting in groups,” she said.
Certain universities across the U.S. have entirely canceled homecoming. La Sierra University, Wake Forest University and the University of North Dakota have all scrapped their homecoming commencement to avoid high-risk situations.
Brannon said she is taking measures to avoid contracting COVID-19, along with Drexler, but is not particularly concerned because of her age and lack of susceptible health issues.