If you go to a Southern school, you know that Homecoming week brings the arrival of the dreaded activity known as "pomping."
What is pomping? Pomping is the action of rolling sheets of tissue paper into tiny paper balls. The “pomps” as they are called, are then glued one by one onto cardboard to create elaborate lawn decorations on campus that follow the Homecoming theme.
Gamma Phi Beta at The University of Alabama's 2014 lawn decoration. Photo Credit: Al.com
Doesn’t sound that bad right? Wrong.
Although it depends on the organization and the school, most groups set a certain number of pomps that every participant must complete. For example, my sorority requires a certain number of gallon-sized Ziploc bags to be filled. This may sound easy, but I will tell you from personal experience that it is actually impossible.
Let me break down the steps for you.
Step 1: Have a color and a size (full sheet, half sheet, or quarter sheet) assigned to you.
Step 2: Receive your bag of 300-sheet tissue paper.
Step 3: Although the graphic on the bag of tissue paper suggests that you will simply push the paper into chicken wire (like the rest of the country does) that would just be too easy. Instead you will be rolling them.
This is one bag of tissue paper. A normal lawn decoration will consist of hundreds of these bags. Photo Credit: Emily Moessner.
Step 4: Prepare the paper for the size that you will be making. For example, if you are doing quarters, cut the tissue squares into four smaller pieces. This means that the bag of 300 sheets of paper will make 1,200 pomps. Aka, you will be doing a TON of pomps.
Step 5: Wrinkle the paper up, so that it will be easier to roll.
Step 6: Roll the paper into the tightest ball that you can, with no "tails" or pieces sticking out. This will require a lot of constant pitching, and may cause pain in your fingers.
This is what a quarter pomp should look like. Photo Credit: Emily Moessner.
Step 7: Add your pomp to your bag of completed pomps.
Step 8: Cry because no matter how many pomps you do, they never seem to accumulate, and you realize that this process is going to take a lot longer than you thought.
Step 9: Repeat.
While the pomping process is not fun, and throughout the week you will probably send 100 snapchats with the caption "I hate pomping" (to which your friends at other schools will reply with "what the heck is pomping?") it results in fun and creative lawn decorations that everyone on campus will admire.
Also if your organization wins the contest for best pomp, you will gain some serious bragging rights.