A total of 1,786 degrees were awarded during the UL Lafayette’s 161st Commencement ceremonies Friday at the Cajundome and Convention Center.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette students, alumni and football fans have plenty to get fired up about during Homecoming Week 2018.
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the New Mexico State Aggies will face off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Cajun Field, but not before a week filled with activities and entertainment.
A pep rally, parade, tailgating, food truck roundup, talent show, and road race are just some of the events planned by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association and the University Program Council.
The Homecoming 2018 theme, “Back in the Mix, Back on the Bricks,” refers to alumni – often from other cities or states – who return to campus and search for bricks on the Walk of Honor, said Homecoming 2018 chair Summer Hvasta, ’07, ’11.
The Walk of Honor features names of graduates inscribed on bricks on campus walkways. Bricks are arranged alphabetically and by year of graduation. The walk begins near Martin Hall, continues into the Quadrangle, and along Hebrard Boulevard and Boucher and McKinley streets.
To date, bricks for graduates through December 2015 have been placed along the Walk of Honor.
“The idea is to encourage alums to find their brick. They find it fun, and many snap pictures to post on social media,” Hvasta said.
Homecoming Week will get a running start with the Ragin’ Road Race at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7. The 5K follows a route through and near campus. It begins and ends near the UL Lafayette Alumni Center, 600 E. St. Mary Blvd.
Overall first- and second-place male and female finishers will be recognized. So will male and female competitors who place first and second in a range of age groups. Spirit will count as much as speed for the runner wearing the most creative Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns- or Homecoming-themed costume.
Following the race, runners can enjoy red beans and rice during an after-party at the Alumni Center. The event is open to the public.
On Monday, fare such as po-boys, chicken wings, and desserts will be sold during the Allons Manger Food Truck Roundup. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Alumni Center. Vendors are C’est Bon Manger, KOK Wings, Mad LuAnns and Rice Kings. Southern Chics Boutique with sell clothes and accessories.
That night, a Campus Scavenger Hunt will be held from 7-9 p.m. Students will meet in the Atchafalaya Ballrooom in the Student Union, then trek across campus to locate spots that won’t be revealed until just before the competition starts.
On Tuesday, Oct. 9, the two-day “Paint the Town Red” contest will begin. Judges will visit businesses and schools to select winners in categories, such as exterior and interior decorations and skits. Judges will visit schools starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday and businesses starting at 9 a.m. the next day.
The “Cajuns Got Talent” contest will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Cajundome Convention Center.
“Students can showcase any talent they possess, such as singing, dancing, comedy or performing magic tricks,” said Karli Sherman, University Program Council assistant director.
On Wednesday, Oct. 10, Wear Red, Get Fed will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Boucher Street. Attendees who wear Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns gear will be able to eat free pulled pork sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, salad, brownies and soft drinks while the lunches last.
The Cajuns Can Care Food Drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday on Boucher Street. Canned goods that are dropped off will be donated to local food pantries.
The Yell Like Hell Pep Rally will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11, on the Student Union porch and in the courtyard. The Homecoming Week tradition will feature music by the Pride of Acadiana Marching Band, and a DJ. Members of the football team and head coach Billy Napier, the Homecoming Court, cheerleaders, and the Ragin’ Jazz dance team will attend.
On Friday, Oct. 12, activities include a tennis tournament from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Red Lerille’s Health and Racquet Club. The Bill Bass Open Golf Tournament will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Les Vieux Chenes Golf Course.
The National Panhellinic Greek Expo will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Cajundome Convention Center. Fraternity and sorority members will perform during the step show.
Homecoming Day begins with an open house from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Alumni Center. Attendees can connect with fellow alumni, enjoy a breakfast buffet and beverages, and watch the Homecoming Parade from the center’s front lawn.
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Blackham Coliseum. A float carrying the queen, the king and their courts will stop in front of the Alumni Center for a toast by University President Dr. Joseph Savoie.
A Zydeco Brunch will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cypress Lake Dining Hall in the Student Union. Diners can purchase tickets for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The menu includes duck and andouille gumbo, crab cakes, boudin potato skins, French toast, Cajun-smothered seven steak, alligator sausage hash, scrambled eggs, jalapeno smoked cheddar grits, sweet potato cane syrupy cathead biscuits, crawfish étouffée, barbecue shrimp, tarte a la bouilli (sweet dough pies) with salted caramel, and beignets.
Tailgating will start at 1 p.m. outside Cajun Field at the Alumni tent at the soccer and track and field parking lot on Reinhardt Drive. Cracklings and jambalaya will be served.
Beginning at 1 p.m., students can enjoy food, soft drinks and listen to music played by a DJ during tailgating at Bourgeois Park.
The game day Cajun Walk will begin at 1:45 p.m. on Reinhardt Drive.
The Pride of Acadiana Marching Band’s pregame performance will be at 3:50 p.m. at Cajun Field.
That night, the Christiana Smith African-American Alumni Chapter will celebrate its annual “Sweet Sounds of Sharing.” Proceeds from the reception will benefit the Christiana Smith endowed scholarship fund. The event will be held at 8 p.m. at the Cajundome Convention Center, Mardi Gras Ballroom.