Camila Fernandez/Assistant News Director
Every year, students, faculty, parents and alumni gather around campus and enjoy the series of Homecoming Week festivities—and there’s a whole team behind it all.
The Homecoming Council brainstorms ideas and puts them together for over eight months, according to Kelly Ibarra, a junior communication arts major and assistant director of operations for the HC.
“Everyone sees all the fun and everything, but behind the scenes it’s a lot of work and a lot of being able to communicate with the team,” said Ibarra.
This year’s 2014 Homecoming Council brought D.J. Tiesto, rapper TY Dolla $ign, comedians and more, to make FIU’s Homecoming the top best in the nation. Making these guest appearances happen requires a lot of planning and contacting vendors, production companies and sponsors.
“Mainly for the concert, we work a lot with production and with an agent company who get our artists,” said Ibarra. “That’s the most work that we have to do.”
With so much time planning and coordinating together, Andrea Macias, a junior hospitality management major and assistant director of administration for the HC Council, said that the team has become a family.
“At the beginning we weren’t as close, obviously, but we spend so many hours together that we became one,” said Macias.
She said they always have dinner together during the weekends and hangout. Ibarra agreed and said that this year’s Homecoming has been less of a stress because of how close they are.
“The fact that we all enjoy each other’s company has made it that much easier,” said Ibarra. “We’re obsessed with each other—we honestly are.”
In the HC Office, they have created mailboxes where they give each other letters of encouragement. They also bring each other cupcakes and goodies and share pictures on iSnap.
She also said that their HC advisors are always readily available 24/7, making the process of HC a smooth one.
“You know you’re not working with people, you’re working with family; homecoming is family,” said Ibarra.
Bringing a live panther to the University was one of their many ideas, but because of certain restrictions, they weren’t able to realize them.
“A lot of the council members have had amazing ideas. It kind of sometimes sucks that we can’t really do everything we want to do, but we try to get as close to those ideas as possible,” said Ibarra.
However, bringing artists like Tiësto was a shocking achievement, she said.
“He’s like the Beyoncé of the [Electronic Dance Music] world [and] he’s a really humble person — he’s not a diva,” Ibarra said. “I think [because of the] fact that he doesn’t restrict himself as an artist he said, ‘Why not FIU?’ Especially Miami… where [the Ultra Music Festival] happens.”
She said that this year was not the comedian year because several of the ones they wanted either passed away or weren’t doing shows anymore. However, after they found comedians DL Hughly and Eddie Griffin, they celebrated.
Ibarra also emphasized on the importance of students coming out to HC events, especially because much of it comes out of student tuition fees.
Yet, students like Ingrid Faust, a junior advertising major, said no one knows about all the events that are going on.
“When you think about Homecoming, you think about the game and the concert. I haven’t heard anything else,” said Faust.
“This is my junior year and I keep thinking like next year, I’ll do everything, but I don’t even know what everything is — it’s just the concert and the game.”
Meanwhile, Ibarra said that because FIU is a commuter school, a lot of students don’t go to the events.
“When I hear that, it kind of bums me out because I’m so passionate about Homecoming. Try it, you don’t know what you’re missing out on,” said Ibarra.