“Oh, what a beautiful mornin’. Oh, what a beautiful day. I’ve got a wonderful feelin’” Oklahoma Christian University homecoming is coming this way.
This year, Homecoming will center around Oklahoma Christian’s production of “Oklahoma!” and will feature games and events during the last week of October. Executive Homecoming Director Mandolin Skipworth chose the theme of this year’s homecoming as “Oh what a beautiful day” to reflect on Oklahoma’s history and building a legacy.
“We are calling it ‘Oklahomecoming’ because the homecoming musical is ‘Oklahoma!’,” Skipworth said. “We wanted [the theme] related to the musical to keep it connected and make people feel connected. We are celebrating Oklahoma, Oklahoma City and OC’s history all together in different parts of homecoming.”
Skipworth said her focus in planning this year’s homecoming was to bring people together and learn from each other.
“You have alumni who are in their retirement ages and come back, but then there are students who just came to campus or maybe families of alumni,” Skipworth said. “You want to find things a lot of people can relate to. I guess that’s the focus for every homecoming, but I think specifically, when we bring it to celebrating the history of things, especially something they were connected to or still are connected to, it’s a lot easier for people to connect to it.”
Homecoming brings multiple alumni classes and current students together, which Skipworth said is one of her favorite things about homecoming.
“Throughout being involved in homecoming, this year and the years before, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of new people,” Skipworth said. “It’s kind of networking, but also you’re making friends and getting to know people you wouldn’t have otherwise, whether that’s students, faculty or people who have already graduated.”
Liz McElroy serves as the staff sponsor for student-organized events and said she enjoys and finds encouragement in working with the students involved in homecoming. Some of the events this year will include a scavenger hunt and a murder mystery event planned by Cary Verner from the Brew, junior Justine McLeckie and senior Erin Hairston.
“This year, they decided to do a photo scavenger hunt where you have to go recreate pictures from places around town,” McElroy said. “That’s a way to get people out and experience the city and to go with a group of friends to do something. It’s pretty low-pressure and it’s all week.”
According to Skipworth, social service club participation is not the focus of homecoming, so the week will feature fewer point competitions between the clubs and fewer attendance requirements. Instead, alternative prizes like gift cards, money and tickets to do things will be awarded so people who are not in club feel more welcome to participate.
“It’s really intended for the whole campus,” McElroy said. “It’s not only a club thing, though clubs do enjoy getting involved. It’s a great way to learn something new about the people around you and about the campus you are participating in. This year, we are really encouraging people to get into the city—both Edmond and Oklahoma City—to get a grandeur view of what’s going on around them.”
Junior Devin Sikes currently serves as homecoming director for Psi Epsilon and said the parade is his favorite part about homecoming. According to Sikes, Psi is more excited about it than usual this year.
“This will be our 10th anniversary this year, but with those 10 years, we do have a bit of a deep history,” Sikes said. “We are planning on displaying things such as our former Spring Sing costumes, our former Homecoming themes, floats, any trophies we have won throughout the years—pretty much anything within these past 10 years we have achieved that displays Psi.”
Homecoming also features a philanthropy project in addition to games and alumni events. According to McElroy, this is the third year for homecoming to have a philanthropy recipient. This year’s philanthropical recipient is Outreach, which will help fund mission efforts and send care packages to missionaries.
“We all came together and tried to come up with a decision of what is connected to this year’s theme and something that’s been around for a while and has a good standing with OC,” Skipworth said. “Outreach is a good organization for that, especially when we consider history. I believe Outreach is one of the oldest organizations on campus that is still running today. They do a lot of good work and they were persistent in giving us ideas of what they wanted to do with the money, and I think it’s a good cause.”
A schedule of homecoming events can be found on the Oklahoma Christian website.