Homecoming parade plans to stir up Illini school spirit

By Amanda Liberatore

Nothing sets off the mood for the Homecoming game like a parade to showcase school spirit.

Ths year’s parade, organized by the Greek Homecoming Committee, starts at 6 p.m. and begins at the intersection of Sixth Street and Taft Drive in Champaign, makes a loop around campus and ends at the Quad.

The parade is consists of Greek fraternities and sororities and various other Registered Student Organizations, plus representatives from both Champaign and Urbana.

“We have nine registered floats this year, and these groups have put in a lot of time and energy into decorating them,” said Megan Robertson, member of the Greek Homecoming Committee and junior in Education.

The groups that created these floats include Sigma Phi Delta, Alpha Gamma Rho, Neuroscience Club, Illini Pride, Alpha Xi Delta, Kappa Sigma, 4H House, Phi Mu and the city of Urbana.

“Each float has their own individual theme and there are some pretty creative ones this year,” Robertson said. “For example, the Neuroscience Club will have a float shaped like a giant brain! Everybody is having fun with the idea and it’s great that they are all coming out and showing their spirit.”

Robertson said she was happy with the number of organizations registered.

“We are so pleased with the overwhelming amount of participation that we have received in this year’s parade,” she said.

In addition to these various organizations, there will be fire trucks, tractors, dance teams, boats, radio vans and walkers all participating in the parade.

“An exciting feature of the parade is the float judging contest,” Robertson said. “The winners will receive trophies at the end of the parade.”

This year’s parade will also consist of some special VIP guests. Jessica Galli, the grand marshal for the parade, was a participant in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics for Track and Field. Galli graduated from the University in 2006.

“We are really excited and enthusiastic to have Jessica back,” said Jessa Becker, co-chair of the Greek Homecoming Committee and senior in ACES. “She really is an inspiration to us all and we are so honored to have her be our Grand Marshal.”

The 2008 Illini Comeback Guests, renowned alumni Dr. Scott Atlas and Barry Sabath, and the 2008 Homecoming Court will also make appearances.

The Greek Homecoming Committee, composed of 35 members, has been working hard in order to ensure that this year’s parade goes on without a glitch.

“It has been a great opportunity to plan this event; Homecoming is always an exciting time,” said Summer Appling, member of the Greek Homecoming Committee and senior in LAS. “We are so privileged to have alumni come back to support the University. I think that this parade provides a great opportunity for different groups on campus to come together and take pride in their organizations and in Illinois.”