HOCO 2023: Tailgate rain or shine

Whoo RU and Dr. Benjamin Dworkin reads The Whit's Centennial Edition. - Managing Editor / Abigail Twiford

Though the ground and air were wet and a light drizzle still fell around campus, Parking Lot O was full of excitement and noise. 

Rowan University held the 2023 Homecoming Tailgate on Saturday, Oct. 14. The rain-or-shine event started at 11 a.m. The theme for 2023 was “Celebrating a Century.”

Despite the rain, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their families still turned out to enjoy the festivities. 

Organizations and departments from all across campus had tables and tents sent up to educate those in attendance about the programs and activities they offer and the accomplishments of their students. Greek life organizations had tents set up on the opposite side of the parking lot. Bouncy castles and slides were set up on the green for the children at the event.

Rowan’s radio station, 89.7 WGLS-FM, provided the music for the event, playing pop, rock, and hip-hop music from both new and old decades. To promote the station, one member was walking around in an inflatable dinosaur costume. 

The Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences had turtles, snakes, and frogs on display inside their tent. Three of the department’s students, Emily Setaro, Rosie Westphal, and Jen Orosz held three of the snakes so people could pet them as they visited the table. 

Matthew Bealor, Ph.D., is a professor with the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, an animal behaviorist, and the advisor and coordinator of the pre-vet concentration. 

“We’re out here today showing live native New Jersey reptiles, so people can meet them up close and get a sense of how important snakes are… Snake phobia is very common, but getting exposed to some of these things, and learning a little bit about them is our goal… we’re having a great day even though it’s just a little bit drizzly, our snakes are loving it and the humans are doing pretty well too,” said Bealor. 

The Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) had padded tables set up so attendees could be treated by the students for back and muscle pain through different stretches. For children in attendance, a teddy bear clinic was available where they could learn to perform basic medical tasks on the stuffed animals. 

Liam Courtney is a second-year medical student with the Student Pediatric Medical Association. 

“It has been a lot of fun seeing all the younger kids coming around, getting to listen to the bears’ heart sounds and just getting to interact with the community,” said Courtney. 

The Rohrer College of Business had current and former business and entrepreneurship students present to discuss their businesses and sell their products. Granola bars, a safety app, and jewelry were all types of businesses featured by the college. 

Copies of the Centennial Special Edition of The Whit, as well as the last published issue, were distributed to alumni by the College of Communication and Creative Arts. Information about the Advertising Club and PRaction firm, which allows students to gain public relations experience, was also available at the tent. 

Learning materials were set out to demonstrate the work of the College of Education. Musical instruments, blocks, and magnetic toys were laid out to show what students are learning about how to educate their own future students. 

Erik Wagner is a Rowan student and the president of Rowan University’s National Association for Music Education.

“I am feeling ecstatic at the fact that even though we’re out here in the rain, we’re having a great time exposing people to the wonderful world of music and the creative and collaborative opportunities it provides for communities large and small,” said Wagner. 

Food was available from four food trucks providing smoothies, empanadas, tacos, and a variety of fried foods. Some of the fraternities and sororities were also grilling, cooking, and handing out food for free to those who came by their tents. 

Rita Roberts, an alumna of Alpha Kappa Alpha, got her undergraduate degree in 1991 and her doctorate in 2008. 

“Folks are coming out and are gonna have a great time…. We’re just happy to annually get together and to fellowship with each other, and remember our Rowan – Glassboro State College,” said Roberts. 

The mascot, Whoo RU, walked around the event to greet and be photographed with anyone in attendance who wanted a picture with the brown and gold owl. Another photo opportunity for participants was provided with the phrase “#Rowan100” spelled out in large letters and numbers arranged at the front of the parking lot. 

Rowan’s marching band made an appearance, walking through the event playing their instruments on their way to the stadium for the homecoming football game against Christopher Newport University, during which the winners of many of the past week’s Homecoming events were announced.

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