Why Pomping for Homecoming Needs to Stop

Why Pomping for Homecoming Needs to Stop

This HOCO tradition needs a drastic update

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Three weeks ago, I was going to write a passionate and researched letter to my campus' Panhellenic Council to advocate against future pomping for Homecoming. But I'm not so sure what to do now, because I can see the merits in pomping, too.

You see, the Homecoming (affectionately shortened to HOCO at my campus) season is upon us, and what that means for Fraternity and Sorority Life members (and other hard-working student organizations) is the infamous pomping season is upon us, too.

Pomping is the act of working with thousands of small sheets of tissue-like paper to create parade floats for the HOCO parade... which is before the big HOCO football game.

Pomping is a many part process. First, one has to make the tissue paper into a shape that can be glued onto the wooden slates that will make the parade float.

That means I would either ball up the thin tissue paper OR wrap the tissue paper around a pencil, then glue the tissue paper in such a way it holds the shape of a pencil. The second part of pomping is applying the tissue paper (ball pomp or pencil pomp) to the float.

This requires so much gorilla glue, our sorority house smells like it for a day or so after the parade.

The tissue paper costs thousands of dollars to order, the hours it takes to prepare and place the pomp on the parade float is excessive, and usually, people attempt to pull consecutive all-nighters Monday through Friday during HOCO week to make sure that float looks gorgeous at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

"Why?" I have asked myself many times these past three years as my palms get itchy and red from balling up tissue paper for two hours straight.

"What was the point?" I asked myself sophomore year as I watched some cackling (yes, they were cackling, probably delirious from lack of sleep and patience) sorority sisters tear apart the float right after we paraded it proudly in front of our family and friends... even took pictures of it to post on Instagram and Twitter.

Surely we could use the money to paint more banners instead and have more walking parade floats. If we did that, we could use the extra budget money to donate to a canned food drive, a sock drive, a "back to school, help the teachers have enough tissue boxers for the upcoming cold season" drive... something to give more back to our local community.

Then we could spend less time pomping and more time studying for Midterms and get a full eight hours of sleep the night before the parade.

Even as I type these words, I realize the logic in my statements. I realize that fraternity boys wouldn't have to stress out about finding a trailer for the float or concern themselves with constructing it the week or so before the parade. I realize that sorority house Moms wouldn't have to clean up tissue paper accidentally glued to dining room floors (or heaven forbid, the carpet on the grand staircase). But then I think about some other facts that must be accounted for.

Having parades with intricate floats is a Homecoming tradition at most college campuses. It does impress, for at least thirty to forty-five minutes, the children, older family members, and the alumni who come to see the parade. It impresses me to see what other people can do artistically with wood, chicken wire, and thousands of tiny papers colored maroon, white, gold, black and brown. For example, someone created a football stadium last year for their float, and I thought it was the coolest thing.

Then I think about all the community that is built when 100+ people are crammed into a sorority house's basement as they listen to country music and share stories. When I was the New Member Educator for my sorority sophomore year, I took a poll with my girls at the end. A lot of them referenced Homecoming as one of their favorite activities, which I did not expect.

One doesn't expect people to like a task similar to what sweatshop workers do... especially if the location is a basement with little ventilation. But about 40% of my girls said that was the time they felt they belonged in the sorority... and honestly, I've felt that way, too.

I want to have the same feelings of gratefulness I experienced when I heard that two fraternity boys ended up sleeping on our couches because they had been pomping for fourteen hours straight... And YES I liked seeing those overly rambunctious fraternity boys step up and buy about 290 girls and boys pizza at 11 p.m. on the infamous "Pomp Night" to keep our morale up. I want memories like that, but I want them made in a less-pomp-filled environment.

If I had it my way, each sorority and fraternity would have two walking parade floats (dancing, music, a cute banner) and a car float (when just the car, like a convertible or truck, would do, is decorated). All of the money from each fraternity and sorority usually spent on pomping would automatically be donated to their specific philanthropies or an all FSL community chosen organization. If I had it my way, the fraternity and sorority homecoming pairings would have a dinner or another event to replace "Pomp Night" (the night before the parade). Maybe they could play yard games, eat some barbecue, quiz each other on their organizations' histories... basically, anything to have clean, sober fun while volunteered groups prepare the walking floats and paint the banners for the parade.

And this would be my compromise if people still really wanted to pomp. If I had it my way, two all FSL parade floats could be created - one for the boys, and one for the girls. Then, the die-hard pompers from each sorority and fraternity could volunteer (instead of being mandated to do it) to pomp as much as their hearts pleased.

I think I will write a letter to the Panhellenic Council after all, because I think we can have it both ways. I know the FSL community can bond with each other while doing a better job at spending our money on the right resources.

I only hope I'm not the only one who thinks that the FSL HOCO traditions can be improved for all parties involved.

Did I mention that if I had it my way, a lot of money from each fraternity and sorority pairing would be spent on buying candy and other goodies for the parade watchers (like koozies for their beverages)? (insert winky face)

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Why Nursing School Friends Are So Vital

Pun intended.

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When I started nursing school, I knew it would be difficult. I wasn't naive. I heard the stories. I knew what I was getting into…to a certain degree.

It was everything I thought it would be and more. The highs were higher and the lows were lower. The thing you realize quickly in nursing is that it's not something you can achieve on your own. You have to have a support system. It's how you survive. It can feel like you're on your own because you have to perform the skills and make the grades, but really, there are so many friends standing behind you pushing you through.

I've seen it over and over again. I've been a part of it, witnessed it and had help myself. The truth is, even the most intelligent students need help in some sort of way. It might be hard to realize it when you're so inwardly focused, but when you look around you, everyone is walking the same path. They just have different strengths and weaknesses. It's an incredible thing when others use their personal strengths to offset your weaknesses. Nursing friends see in you what you don't see in yourself. Nursing friends share your passions, sleepless nights, early mornings, stress, panic attacks, victories, and failures. Nursing friends are your own personal cheerleaders.

It's no secret that we deal with some pretty gross stuff. Who else can you count on when you're walking down the unit trying to find an extra pair of hands to help you change the clothes of a morbidly obese patient who's covered from shoulders to ankles in their stool? Your nursing buds.

What about when your patient goes into v-fib (ventricular fibrillation), and you need someone to relief on chest compressions? Your rock star nurse friends are there to lend a hand or two.

Or what about when you are scrubbing into a C-section for the first time and you're kind of, sort of, secretly concerned you might get queasy or faint? Your nursing squad will remind you how tough you are. They'll assist you as quickly as possible and when you are finished washing your hands a thousand times, they'll make you laugh or smile. They'll always be there to help you with dignity, support, love, and encouragement.

Your nursing friends know which supply closet you go hide in when you are about to lose it or when class is so long it's giving you a headache so they pass you some Tylenol. Nursing friends are the backbone of your nursing school experience. I always love it that whenever I need hand sanitizer, Tylenol/Advil/Motrin or even a Band-Aid, someone always has it.

Even if you don't talk every day, or you take different class times, there is always someone waving hello or asking how you're holding up. You are all so different, but at the same time, you feel like you're surrounded by so many who are just like you. They care as much as you do. They love as much as you do. And the best part? They just love you. Even on your worst days. There will be times when you trip up on the easy stuff you know that you know, but they'll be there with open arms telling you about when they were in the same place. They are the ones who “fight in the trenches" with you. They'll carry you when you can't keep going, and you'll do the same. No woman or man left behind.

Nursing friends are incredible lifelong blessings. So, remember to thank them every once in a while. Keep cheering each other on, keep fighting together and keep reminding each other that the end goal is closer than it seems.

Cover Image Credit: Maddy Cagle

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To The College Girl Who Doesn't Know Where She Fits In

I'm right there with you, but we will find our place. I promise.

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Finding my place in this great big world hasn't been easy in the slightest. In fact, I am still growing and trying to see where exactly I belong. Coming to college seemed like it would be the perfect time to discover where I fit in, but it's still extremely difficult to find my place. With everything being on my time now, it's hard to find the groups, organizations, or friends that I mesh with the most. While I have friends, both old and new, part of me still doesn't see the bigger picture. Where do I truly fit in?

To you, the person reading this who may feel the exact same way, this is normal.

Not knowing exactly which direction your life is going toward, on top of feeling like you don't quite fit in anywhere yet, sucks to no end. I never really understood why people expressed feeling so lonely in college, but the truth is that it does happen. More time on your hands leads to more time alone with your thoughts, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Sometimes you really just want to be home because at least you fit in there. Sometimes you just want to be alone in your room because it feels better that way. Sometimes you feel so alone surrounded by so many loving people who care about you. And that's okay. You're allowed to feel, but don't let those feelings dictate everything you do. Don't fall victim to your thoughts, don't let the loneliness swallow you whole. Because you're not alone.

You don't have to find your place right away. Give it time and I swear it will happen.

I'm a firm believer that everything falls into place just as it should. Not knowing how things are going to work out is scary at times, but it always happens for the best. Go looking for things that interest you, do what makes you incredibly happy, and live without regret. People who see the light in your heart will radiate toward you. We will find our place, and we will look back and wonder why we ever spent so much time worrying about where we fit in. Open your mind to new opportunities and allow yourself to let others in. You have so much talent and worth to offer the world, and it's only a matter of time before you find that one group that recognizes what you have to give.

Express yourself to someone, anyone. I promise there is at least one person willing to listen.

Let people in. Talking out your emotions and thoughts truly does wonders and will help you feel a million times better. It could be a stranger, friend, relative, anyone you think will listen. Let them know that you don't feel as though you have a place in your new surroundings yet. Confessing your worries doesn't make you weak, it shows your strength. Becoming part of something new is scary yet exciting, so it's okay to be slightly worried about the unknown. Trial and error is a good test for most things, so allow yourself a chance to test the waters.

I know not feeling part of anything is brutal on your mental state right now, but I promise there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to open your heart to new experiences.

Sincerely,

The girl who's in the exact same boat.

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