The UNCW Tradition That Misses the Mark

If you attend UNCW then there are many traditions that you are probably aware of. Wagsgiving, Ooze Ball, and maybe even Hawk it Out. There is one that you might not be aware of, and that would be Homecoming. Wait, what? Shouldn’t Homecoming be one of the biggest events of the year? Well you would be right if it were any other school. For various reasons our Homecoming is not as big as other universities. Some blame the lack of a football team, others say it is our overall school attitude, while others claim there is a gap between awareness and motivation to attend.

For UNCW, Homecoming can be an opportunity to strengthen the sense of community among current students, alumni, and the surrounding populace. Uniting for the same purpose, to support the same school and cheer for the same team, instills a firm sense of pride. Pride can be a powerful tool. Think of UNC Chapel Hill. UNC students, alumni, and even fans have a strong sense of pride in their school and in their team. Most everybody knows who the Tar Heels are and a large number of people want to be part of their team in one way or another. Through this, the students, alumni, and fans are creating awareness. This is called Word of Mouth Marketing and allows for the marketing campaign to basically run itself. It is a necessary tool in creating a lasting tradition and instilling a strong sense of pride. So what pride essentially does, is ensure that no matter what, the school will always have a market for new students and an ever-lasting fan base. 

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The question is, how can Homecoming become a successful tradition? It is a common assumption that our Homecoming participation is low because we do not have a football team, which is also why our Homecoming is in the spring. However, if we stay with the example of UNC Chapel Hill, we see that a football team is not what makes the Homecoming event successful. Their fan base lies largely in their basketball team just like UNCW’s. The issue comes in the form of getting people motivated. Motivation begins with awareness and bridging the gap between the two starts with promoting involvement opportunities. People care more about events if they have a hand in creating them.

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There are ways for students and student organizations to be involved in Homecoming. Some include participating in the annual banner contest, the Intercultural Fest (iFest), and by competing for Homecoming King and Queen. One of the most successfully advertised Homecoming event is Dub Idol. This is one of the first traditions that many freshmen hear about even before they arrive. If every event were advertised and instilled into the students as much as Dub Idol then the level of involvement could potentially increase. Implementing some new advertising techniques could be a start so the lesser known events become a staple. There is already an emphasis on reaching alumni, but in order to target the students, utilizing Social Media is one of the best options.

Overall, Homecoming is a tradition that every UNCW affiliate could participate in and has the potential to create an environment that allows students, past and present, to market their spirit and their pride. It is difficult to change a mindset, but Homecoming is moving in the right direction and with a little help from students it can become one of the most anticipated events of the year. One thing is for sure, we will be out this weekend participating in any events we can in order to increase student involvement and show our support for UNCW’s Homecoming. 

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-Austin, Jonathan, & Kaela

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16 thoughts on “The UNCW Tradition That Misses the Mark

  1. I am a member of ACE, and as an organization, we market and put on events every day during homecoming week. We have Teal Tuesdays, a spirit sweepstakes, and even traditional events like Battle of the Bands in order to get people more involved in homecoming here at UNCW. Many of these events are smaller, and word of mouth marketing is the best way to get the word out about our events. Hopefully, some of our events can become as well recognized as Dub Idol, because I think it’s important for people to feel involved on campus.

  2. Homecoming should be something that UNCW students should participate in at least once before graduating. I think that more advertising would help and maybe also get the team involved in it as well.

  3. I love UNCW and being a student here but one thing I am always noticing is the lack of school spirit and student participation in our “traditions” and campus activities. Homecoming should be much more established and receive a great deal more recognition than it does from students. I have always thought the lack of a football team was our reason behind homecoming not being a big deal, but your point of the lack of motivation makes sense. I also agree an improvement of advertising about events associated with homecoming or any student events would be a great idea.

  4. I think a lot of this has to do with tradition. For myself and many others, we are so used to having Homecoming in high school in the same season as other schools and it becoming a sort of competition of pride within the football season, regardless of how good or bad the team itself is. In order for this to change, the overall student interest in the basketball teams along with an increase in awareness of Homecoming events would have to change in order for student participation to rise.

  5. In my opinion, I think the size of the campus and population plays a big part of why our student body lacks in the motivation for all on-campus events. The UNCW campus is contained in this area whereas other colleges like NC State and UNC are spread throughout the surrounding areas. A lot of students live off campus and are not inclined to go back onto campus for a Homecoming game. Overall, it is unfortunate that we cannot have a student body that is as passionate as UNC or NC State, but hopefully over time we will get there.

  6. As a transfer student from NC State University, I can see very clearly the lack of spirit on this campus…especially when it comes to Homecoming. I am a member of a club on campus that attended and performed at the Pep Rally on Friday, and I can honestly say that I think my high school had a bigger Pep Rally than UNCW did. I think one of the main problems isn’t a lack of team, it’s a lack of desire to attend the events. At NC State, everyone went to Homecoming events; it was a given. I think that, for lack of a better phase, “peer pressure” had a lot to do with this. If every one of your friends was going to be at a homecoming event, then you would go as well because, what else are you going to do? So, I think the key to better attendance for Homecoming events at UNCW is going to be getting a few groups of people so excited about attending that eventually everyone will be doing it because “everyone else is doing it”.

  7. As a UNCW senior I think that school spirit has stayed the same throughout my time here. With that being said, I think that events such as Homecoming, etc. will only reach students that are active on campus and in other organizations. I don’t think UNCW can do much more, as they did a wonderful Job keeping up with the social media accounts during homecoming weekend, and that ultimately participation falls onto the students and not the university. Some of the best school traditions are started by the students and not the school itself. A good example of this would be the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Challenge at NC State which was first started as a bet by undergrad students.

  8. in my opinion having a football team would be a great way to build school spirit on campus while simultaneously bringing in more students. We have the potential to have a great homecoming experience we just need to be willing to make some changes and actually begin to see lack of school enthusiasm as a serious issue on campus. Although I doubt this will ever change I do think that measures should be put forth for making homecoming a bigger celebration campus wide.

  9. I am a transfer student at UNCW and I have never been at a school where Homecoming was a very big event. I find it sad because I love UNCW and there is a lot of potential for fun events. I cannot pin point why there is lack of school spirit or lack of attendance at school events. I hope Homecoming can grow in the future because there are a lot of events that are very well planned and could become quite popular among the student body.

  10. As a campus we are not very involved when it comes to homecoming, or athletics in general really. From my opinion, I don’t think people come to this school to be into the whole school spirit thing. The main thing that would really attract students is the nice weather and the beautiful coast. I do hope that our Homecoming becomes a lot bigger than it is now and I do believe that it is growing.

  11. While many students here at UNCW have a love for the community and the school itself, there is a lack in the appearance and participation when it comes to the schools traditions, such a Homecoming. In fact, just the other day I was discussing this topic with a fellow classmate. Both of us have recognized the lack in motivation when it comes to school spirit and the participation in school traditions, especially when compared to other universities. However, whether it is the absence of having a football team of the overall lack of motivation, I do agree with you that better advertising will essentially help boost the hype and motivate students to make an appearance at beloved school traditions.

  12. I transferred to UNCW this year and was a little disappointed to see how little homecoming was hyped up. Friends at other campuses were so excited for their homecoming! I agree that it definitely needs more promoting overall. I heard about Dub Idol so much that I felt like I had to go or I was totally missing out. Hopefully, over time homecoming can become a large promoted event and can increase the school spirit around campus.

    • Yes, we hope so too. Homecoming has some great potential and with the right attitude it can continue to grow. We hope that you are enjoying your decision to transfer to UNCW!

  13. First, as a Junior here at UNCW, I agree that our Homecoming is lacking in certain areas as far as the effort to advertise and spread the word is concerned. Unfortunately (Or fortunately, depending on your point of view) this idea of our campus being completely different than most other schools pertains to more than just our attitude toward Homecoming. I love this school and I love living at the beach, but I go and visit schools like NC State and UNC Chapel Hill and often wonder what it would be like if we had an athletic program that well off. On another note, what if homecoming was hyped up just as much in the dorms and on campus as Beach Blast is? I have a feeling that we put more emphasis on that than anything else here (No complaints at all on my end with that one to be honest) , which makes since at a beach school.

  14. Being a first semester transfer student, I feel as though there was great social media marketing involved in this year’s homecoming week. I have friends that told me about some of the events but if I had to find out about these events on my own, word of mouth on campus was not enough. I attended the basketball game and did in fact feel the school spirit– moreso than I did when i previously attended another Division 1 basketball school. The size of the student body and the tradition that is instilled in an older school, such that of UNC Chapel Hill, is hard to compete with a to get a following like them. UNCW is still a very young university and I believe we have time to keep building up our traditions to make for an overall incredible homecoming week in following years.

  15. It’s difficult to compare UNCW with UNC Chapel Hill because they’re too very different schools. For starters, Chapel Hill is one of the oldest institutions in the nation, they’ve had time to cultivate their traditions and make a big impression on their students and alumni. In comparison, UNCW is still very young. Additionally, I think location has a lot to do with our inability to get “amped up” for school related functions; such as homecoming. Being near the beach, we have that “hang-ten and relax” mentality, not all of the time, but students don’t come to UNCW for their thriving athletics teams, unless you’re an athlete. Most likely, you come because you love the beach or you are interested in a field of study that is offered. Whether we like it or not, athletics has A LOT to do with school spirit. I think the basketball team is helping us get on the right track to gaining school spirit.

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