By Melanie J. Knox, Opinion Editor
A distinction exists between some men and women’s social clubs regarding the construction of Homecoming floats: men begin the week of Homecoming and women begin at the start of pledging.
“We’ve usually done some background checking and brainstorming, but nothing big,” said Jeffrey Rasco, who is in charge of Gamma Sigma Phi’s float.
Rasco, junior management major from Abilene, said they’ll work about four hours a day during the week of Homecoming and all day Friday. Members of GSP pick the idea for the float, but Rasco said that pledges “get a lot of say in the creativity and in shaping the design” of the float.
Michael Dockery, Pi Kappa president and senior graphic design major from Springfield, Mo., said their pledges usually begin a day or two before the Friday of Homecoming. Their pledges decide on the idea and do the float entirely on their own.
“The pledge class does it all,” he said. “This leaves Pikes with a more stress-free life.”
Alpha Kai Omega pledges begin on the float when they begin pledging, completing about three hours a week each, said Kara Turskey, president and senior print journalism major from Odessa.
Their members came up with the idea and created what Turskey called the “bones” of the float to help the pledges in construction.
Like Alpha Kai Omega, GATA pledges also have a set amount of hours to work, said president Julie Goen, senior political science and history major from Seminole.
“They work at least 10 hours throughout pledging until Homecoming,” Goen said. “They have afternoon and night hours they can work, and some weekends and all day this past Saturday.”
GATA officers and sponsors decided on the theme, and the float director already had the dimensions and the trailer before the pledges came so that they would have something to do immediately, Goen said.
This year, pledges are not allowed by Campus Life to stay up all night finishing the floats. Amanda Spell, coordinator of student organizations and activities, previously told the Optimist that this is “because sleep deprivation is considered hazing by Texas state law,” unless members are present and required to participate in the same activity.
Rasco said that the night before Homecoming has previously been their most productive time.
“It’s usually one of everyone’s favorite memories,” Rasco said. “The loss of this tradition is a loss for our Siblings.”
Dockery cited disappointment about the loss of tradition as well.
“It won’t affect the quality of the float, but it’s a bummer to loose all the bonding that traditionally takes place,” he said. “The tradition is really what it’s all about.”
Turskey, however, said the decision will not affect her club.
“We weren’t planning on staying up all night anyway,” she said. “I did that the year I pledged, and I was so sick on Saturday that it wasn’t any fun.”
Goen agreed, saying that it wouldn’t affect GATA much either.
“It’s always helpful to have the night before, but we try to have it done anyway,” she said.