David Fanous ’03 candidly admits his attendance at homecoming as an undergrad was spotty at best.
“I think one year I may have gone to the basketball game,” Fanous says, “but it was because we were in the running for league title championship. Sadly, it really had nothing to do with homecoming.”
Now, as a member of the UCI Alumni Association Programs Committee, he wants to enhance the traditions and encourage current students to mix with alumni. To that end, he is helping to construct a Greek Village where current and alumni fraternity and sorority members can meet and mingle. It will be just one feature of the Saturday, Feb. 28, homecoming schedule of activities, booths and music running from one end of Mesa Road to the other.
Here is Fanous’ take on the growth of traditions at UC Irvine:
Q. Do you think UCI’s homecoming traditions are a little thin? If so, why?
A. I believe UC Irvine is a young campus, and deep traditions take time to develop. We’re fighting an uphill battle by not having a powerhouse sports program, which often leads to a strong school spirit.
Q. How has homecoming changed since you were an undergrad?
A. The programs committee wanted to make homecoming a truly campuswide event. So we decided to partner with the various schools on campus, which were planning their own individual events at homecoming. In essence, we pooled our resources to create one large event giving maximum exposure to the alumni association while also keeping the individuality of each school.
Q. How will a Greek Village deepen tradition?
A. The Greek Village will allow alumni to engage with undergrads and reunite with old friends. We hope to show Greek alumni that UCI is growing, with such amazing projects as our $1 billion “Shaping the Future” fundraising campaign, and reignite their excitement about being an Anteater.
More than 10 percent of undergraduates have a Greek affiliation. Greeks tend to be involved in other organizations, such as the Student Parent Orientation Program, the Cross-Cultural Center and Associated Students of UCI. In short, they are motivated and rally behind causes. In fact, alumni donation rates at universities nationwide are correlated with the size of their Greek communities. The UCIAA had been looking for a target group that we could mobilize to come to homecoming. Most Greek alumni are still involved or have contact with their undergraduate chapter. It made sense to promote an event for them similar to what the schools are doing for their alumni.
Q. What would you like to tell other alumni about homecoming 2009?
A. This year, we’re taking the pre-game festival to new heights. We’ve taken over Mesa Road, invested in a great band and have something for the whole family.