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ISSUE 120 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 10/6/2006

Homecoming goes 'down under'

By Emelie Heltsley
News Editor

Friday, October 6, 2006

In an attempt to find a unique, interesting Homecoming theme, organizers chose "Oles Down Under" as the focus of this year’s celebratory activities. Events during Homecoming Week include movies, a poker tournament and a reptile petting zoo. Festivities will culminate during the weekend with the inauguration of President David R. Anderson '74 and Saturday’s Homecoming game against St. John’s.

The Student Activities Committee organized many different activities in which St. Olaf students can participate. On Monday, Crocodile Dundee and Crocodile Dundee II were shown in Viking Theater.

A Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament in the Pause on Tuesday attracted much student attention.

"The poker tournament brought in about 90 people and lasted until 11:30 p.m.," Ole Traditions Co-Coordinator Andrea Werpy '07 said, pleased with the student response. She hoped that the chance to play poker would attract St. Olaf students who would normally not choose to participate in festivities.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, students enjoyed a reptile petting zoo in Buntrock Crossroads. Many students came to pet a baby American alligator and to see different reptiles from Australia in aquariums. Also on Wednesday was a lip-sync in the Pause at 8 p.m.

On Thursday, a hypnotist came to the Pause at 8 p.m.

A cartoonist was in Buntrock Commons Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All students were welcome to attend a caramel apple sundae social with President Anderson from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday will culminate with President Anderson’s inauguration ceremony, which begins at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, SAC is hosting the Homecoming dance in the Pause at 10 p.m.

"So far the events have gone really well," Werpy said, pleased with student involvement and excitement.

No Homecoming at St. Olaf would be complete without the annual T-shirt and sweatpant rush on the Monday of Homecoming Week. "Our T-shirt sales have been going great," Werpy said. "We are sold out of the sweatpants and the brown shirts, but we still have all sizes available in the two T-shirt colors, maroon and sapphire blue." The remaining T-shirts can be bought in the SAC office for $5.

Previous years have seen Homecoming clothing sell out quickly, especially in the small sizes. In order to prevent similar occurrences this year, organizers looked at the data from previous years and made the necessary changes.

"We ordered many more smalls," Werpy said. "We’re trying to get it right."

The theme, which was chosen last April, has been the center of much controversy among the student body. Many students find the theme exclusive, while others like its originality.

Werpy said that coordinators of Homecoming wanted something different and unique for this year’s theme.

"Australia is popular for study abroad programs," said Werpy, expressing hope that students who had visited Australia would be drawn to the theme.

Strenglis noted how "Oles Down Under" fits with an over-arching theme of St. Olaf. "It goes with the theme of being a global citizen," she said.

Organizers also decided to give Homecoming an educational twist. Part of the decorations around campus have been large, brightly colored posters with little-known facts about Australia and maps of the country.

Other decorations have included boomerangs, flags and a cardboard cut-out of recently deceased conservationist Steve Irwin. Homecoming organizers want to emphasize that the theme was chosen long before Irwin’s death, and that the decorations that include Irwin are meant to honor him, not ridicule his work.

"We used some decorations in his memory, to honor him," Werpy said.

Strenglis agreed. "We don’t want students to think we’re mocking him," she said.

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