Each year, Homecoming weekend provides alumni with the opportunity to return to the Oklahoma Christian University campus and reconnect with former peers, as well as meet current students and faculty. This fall, junior PR student Mandolin Skipworth will oversee the event, as she has been named the 2018 Homecoming Executive Director.
From Illinois, Skipworth participated in Oklahoma Christian’s Homecoming both her sophomore and junior years—as a parade participant for her Theta Theta Theta women’s social service club and then, as the public relations coordinator on the executive staff.
“Becoming Executive Director was not something I originally wanted to do going into college, or something I ever even thought about doing until recently,” Skipworth said. “Last year, when Liz [McElroy] and Coby [Poole] approached me about being on the team for Homecoming, I decided to accept and it was actually a really good experience. It gave me the opportunity to work with people I normally would not get to work with and I think that is what drove me to apply for the executive director position, because now, I get to do that again, only on a bigger scale.”
According to Skipworth, she had little idea of what Homecoming was her freshman year and did not feel compelled to participate. She said it is this mindset that makes her focus particularly on the freshmen this year, as she said it is important for them to bring their energy and involvement to the Homecoming process.
“Freshman year, I did not get involved with Homecoming at all,” Skipworth said. “In fact, I hardly even knew what it was. Then, sophomore year, I participated in Theta’s Homecoming, just walking with the float and then last year, I was able to see the behind-the-scenes work with the public relations positions. So, it has been kind of nice to have experience participating in Homecoming on all levels.”
While the theme for this fall’s Homecoming has yet to be announced, Skipworth has put together the majority of her executive staff. Junior Madisen Ransford will serve as the Assistant Executive Director, royalty responsibilities will be held by junior Cynthia Knox and the homecoming treasurer will be sophomore Bailee Dethloff. The game portion of Homecoming will be run by sophomores Morgan Boling and Justin McLeckie, the spirit director will be junior Hunter Wiederstein and this year’s harvest festival will be coordinated by junior Anna Dindak. Finally, sophomore Haleigh Evans will be in charge of public relations and sophomore Mason Fitzgerald will be responsible for the parade.
“We are still working on adding a few more positions, but so far, I think that this is going to be a good team,” Skipworth said. “It is a variety of clubs and we have been trying to get people who are outgoing and enjoy talking to people.”
According to Skipworth, her main goals for this year’s Homecoming are to place more of an emphasis on the alumni and to have more student involvement from both freshmen and those not in a club.
“I think that Homecoming ends up becoming about the clubs and that is just not supposed to be the case,” Skipworth said. “Yes, that is part of it, but it is also about bringing people who graduated from here back and getting students involved with the alumni. I think that if this team and I can just focus on that more, we can find specific ways to get people who normally are not involved or are not in a club involved in Homecoming.”
The official Homecoming theme will be set after the homecoming musical is revealed. Those interested in volunteering for homecoming committees or for the two remaining executive positions can contact Skipworth via email.
“If you are in a club, you can obviously participate in your club’s float, and even if you are not in a club, you can always be part of the games,” Skipworth said. “For freshmen specifically, this is an experience where a good portion of the campus is celebrating OC and it is a time for you get to scope out potential clubs.”
“This year, we are going to really try to encourage students to go to the alumni breakfasts and just provide them with the opportunity to interact with people who did go here, because I think that is so important. They can tell you how things have changed and you can have good conversations with them. When it comes to Homecoming in general, just come and get involved, because it is going to be a good time.”