‘Feel the ‘Nois!’ 2008 has begun

By Amanda Liberatore

With Homecoming rapidly approaching, there is no better way to kick off the weeklong celebration than with a party bringing faculty, students and staff together.

The Homecoming Kickoff, which took place Saturday night, offered a chance to come together and “Feel the ‘Nois!” for Homecoming 2008.

The event ran from 7-9 p.m. and offered students free popcorn and drinks. In addition, students were able to participate in free giveaways and contests. One of these giveaways was free football tickets to one of the upcoming Illini football games.

The event was put together by Student Alumni Ambassadors, who have set up all of the events for the Homecoming celebration.

The group planned the kickoff in order to begin the long list of Homecoming festivities, according to their Web site.

“Basically, we just wanted to throw a big, fun party in order to get everyone excited about Homecoming,” said Michelle Farag, vice president of Public and Alumni Relations for Student Alumni Ambassadors.

“We just want everyone to get pumped and excited and to just hang out and have fun.”

This organization has been planning these Homecoming festivities for awhile now and they are excited to see everything put into motion.

“We want everyone to feel the school spirit and excitement that Homecoming brings to this University, and hopefully the Kickoff is playing a key part in that excitement,” said Dan Tattersall, a member of Student Alumni Ambassadors.

Students got excited when 7th heaven, a band based out of Chicago, played live music, attracting groups of students who were passing by. Soon, Green Street began to fill up and the party was underway.

Many attendees purchased “Feel the ‘Nois!” T-shirts and buttons in order to display their Homecoming spirit.

In addition, students participated in an attempt to break the Guinness Book world record for most hands shaken at one time. Participants gathered in front of the Alma Mater in order to attempt to break the record. Unfortunately, with only 380 couples, the effort fell 200 couples short of the record. But participants were still enthusiastic about trying.

“I’m really excited to be a part of this,” said Kevin McConkey, freshman in Biology. “It’s great to see everyone out here and excited for Homecoming to start.”

Farag and the Student Alumni Ambassadors were happy that the event was such a success.

“This University is so big on school spirit and pride, we’re glad that everyone came out to show their Illini pride,” she said.

“I’m very pleased with tonight’s turnout.”

The night was rounded off with a rendition of the Alma Mater, ending a great night of fun and excitement.