Homecoming 2013 is not just about returning to UT, it's about celebrating it.
Campus Crusade for Christ has collaborated with the Central Programming Council and the Campus Entertainment Board to host Celebrate UT, a tailgate for Saturday's homecoming game. The event will take place on Pedestrian Walkway both before and after the game.
"The Celebrate UT tailgate is mainly to just celebrate UT and to create unity amongst different organizations at UT," said Mary Grace Cooper, a junior in speech pathology and member of the event's planning committee. "This tailgate is Cru's way of teaming up with UT and letting the university know that we support it. We want students and faculty to know that we are present on campus and willing to serve in any way."
Britton Sharp, a UT alumnus, has been a Cru staff member at UT for eight years. In Sharp's opinion, the tailgate represents a way to appreciate the privileges of life at UT.
"Celebrate UT is an event where we can acknowledge the blessing we have been given," Sharp said. "So often we get bogged down in tests and stresses that we fail to realize we have been given a great opportunity ... Celebrate UT is a chance to do just that, celebrate the gifts we have been given as a community and enjoy our time we had here, whether that be alumni or current students."
Celebrate UT was initiated when Cru reached out to the university administration in an effort to create a more unified campus. The Hillel Jewish Student Group, Blessed John XXIII Catholic Student Group, the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, Cru and other groups involved will set up decorated tents with free food, games and music, each of which will be open to all visitors.
"They had mentioned that they had always wanted to do a tailgate type event, but no one had ever ran with it," Sharp said. "We offered to do it and the idea for Celebrate UT was born."
Hannah Herrin, a junior in global studies and religious studies, as a representative of Cru to the university administration, said she believes the tailgate is a natural extension of Cru's mission.
"I hope our involvement with the tailgate shows our passion for being involved at UT and our willingness to participate in campus events," Herrin said.
"Cru is involved on campus by encouraging our students to be active in campus activities and leadership," she added. "As a whole we desire to be actively present in our student body and loving UT as much as possible."