Homecoming Week at Weber State University has traditionally featured the homecoming dance on Friday as a precursor to the climactic football game. For students, this often includes not just the dance, but dinner, a group activity and the ‘true Wildcat’ tradition at midnight. The theme of this year’s dance is “You are my new dream.”
“It’s just the tradition to have the dance on Friday night, and then afterwards, it’s becoming a ‘true Wildcat,’ the kiss for the 12 chimes,” said Cynthia Phelps, WSU programming vice president and a senior in elementary education, who is in charge of the dance. “This year, we just have a lot of fun decorations, (and) we’re trying to sell tickets.”
To become ‘true Wildcats’, couples gather around WSU’s bell tower at midnight after the dance and kiss for the duration of the 12 chimes. Phelps said she doesn’t know how or when the ‘true Wildcat’ tradition began, but that it is different from other Utah schools.
“What I think is cool . . . at other schools you just have to, like, peck on the ‘A’, or, you know, ‘kiss by the badger’ or something, but we get to kiss through 12 chimes,” she said. “Talk about, you know, a good little tradition.”
Though royalty is no longer elected for the dance, Phelps said the Crystal Crest winners from the previous year make up the “Homecoming Court.”
Many college students continue the high-school tradition of making the dance a group date. The groups often go to dinner together before the dance and follow it with an activity, such as a movie or trip to a haunted house. Abelardo Saucedo, a junior in accounting who is going to the dance for the first time this year, said his group does not have a set activity in mind, but will probably still do something together after the dance.
“We’ll probably do something after, I’m sure, like watch a movie and hang out,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll go out to dinner too, before.”
Though Saucedo said he had not yet officially asked his planned date, he also said he was planning on becoming a true Wildcat the night of the dance.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “It’s gonna happen.”
On the other hand, Traci Merrill, a sophomore in health promotions, said she has no strong desire to go to the dance.
“I don’t really care one way or the other,” she said. “I’m married; I don’t know what we’re doing that weekend. Since I’m not, you know, a traditional student, who knows what’ll be going on?”
Phelps said she thinks having traditions as a school and participating in them can help raise school spirit.
“With that tradition, I think it instills school pride, and so students get a sense of school pride and community, just excitement for being at the school,” she said.
Saucedo said he thinks a lot of students might not even know about the dance or when it is.
“It’s just a matter of, like, maybe spreading the word so that other students know about it, making it a little bit exciting,” he said. “A lot of people think it’s like high school, but it’s not — you can still have a lot of fun, I think, and I’m gonna have fun.”
The dance will take place on Friday, Oct. 14 in the Shepherd Union Building’s ballrooms from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $8 for singles or $12 for couples, and can be purchased at the information desk in the Shepherd Union Building or at the door. A dance for families and alumni will also take place in the ballrooms on the same night, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.