The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s fall 2023 Homecoming Week prepares to take students further than ever before as organizations gear up for space-themed events lasting from Sept. 30 through the Mocs’ Oct. 7 football game.
Organizing the “UTC and Beyond” adventure, the Office of Student and Family Engagement began working alongside other departments on Homecoming Week in February, tirelessly preparing to give students an intergalactic experience from the comfort of campus.
As coordinator for the Office of Student and Family Engagement, Kidron Bullock took the lead on planning homecoming this year. Even though preparations kept him busy, he is excited to pull off the coming week’s space-themed festivities.
“I’m personally very excited for this theme,” Bullock said with a smile. “It was the easiest concept we could create a vision for and I think it’s really come together nicely.”
Kicking off with promo day, the homecoming planning committee arranged for tables to be set up around campus from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, to promote the coming week’s busy schedule.
Memphis native Carmin Chambers, co-director of the Student Programs steering committee, worked on planning homecoming the last two years. The senior marketing major now gears up for her last homecoming ready to revel in the long-awaited events.
“The whole thing is just exciting to me because I know how much work and creating and ideas have been put behind the whole week,” Chambers said.
Homecoming Week officially kicks off with UTC’s annual Day of Service, which will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, in Lupton Hall. Students will be able to serve the community on campus by writing letters to cancer patients—or off campus by helping at either the Chattanooga Community Kitchen or delivering donation bags to the Chattanooga Room at the Inn.
“Big partners in Chattanooga we’re working with,” Bullock said. “A lot of different vendors with a lot of different connections that have a big tie to UTC…it’s really cool to see the vendors that we see also have a buy-in to this University.”
Gathering in the University Center Tennessee Room from 3-7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1, students can partake in the organization banner painting tradition. Carrying out creative individual ideas to showcase to the campus community, students will compete with other organizations in an out-of-this-world battle of school spirit.
Three events take place on Monday, Oct. 2. Various organizations will set up tables around campus from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., giving out goodies from space-themed T-shirts to Cupcake Kitchen’s specially made space-themed cake balls. At 5 p.m. on Chamberlain Field, the annual homecoming kickoff pep rally will ensue and the homecoming court will be announced—quickly followed by the Space Jam Block Party.
“This week will be different and stand out more just because of all the different hands involved in creating this week,” Bullock said.
“Everyone related to UTC can get something out of this week.”
After a day of celebration, the Space Lounge, held from noon-2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, on the first floor of Lupton Hall, will give students the chance to kick back and recharge before going to their next class or attending the next homecoming activity on Wednesday, Oct. 4—a day that includes tables promoting the iconic battle of UTC’s lip sync-ers from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and the annual Lip Sync battle at 8 p.m. in McKenzie Arena.
“Lip sync will probably be our most ‘wow’ factor,’” Bullock said. “If you put any event on your calendar, I hope it’s that one.”
In true space fashion, students will be able to grab space-themed snow cones while playing a quick video game between classes from noon-3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5, during Cosmic Cones at Heritage Plaza. Hours later, students can travel to the University Center Tennessee Room to show off their dance moves in the near-dark ballroom for the Night in the Galaxy Dance.
Chambers’ eyes lit up as she discussed the dance, which takes place from 7-10 p.m.
“I’ve been looking forward to this. I’ve been trying to get this event ever since I started (working) homecoming,” she said. “As a 2020 (high school) graduate, I didn’t have a prom, so I needed something to resemble prom as close as possible—and this year we were finally able to put together a ball.”
After more goodie giveaways on Friday, Oct. 6, the National Pan-Hellenic Council will host a Homecoming Yard Show showcasing the cultures of their organizations at 6 p.m. on Chamberlain Field.
Capping off Homecoming Week is the Mocs football game against Western Carolina University at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Finley Stadium. Tailgating begins at 1:30 p.m. and the homecoming king and queen announcement takes place during halftime.