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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Float guards to protect hours of work

    Business freshman Dona Lopez, left, and communication freshman Tracey Keller work with the Freshman Class Council on their float for the Homecoming parade Tuesday night at the Aggie house.
    Business freshman Dona Lopez, left, and communication freshman Tracey Keller work with the Freshman Class Council on their float for the Homecoming parade Tuesday night at the Aggie house.

    Campus groups are guarding their Homecoming floats 24/7 in an effort to prevent vandalism and the traditional burning of Homecoming floats.

    Allie Gilliland, a journalism junior and member of Kappa Alpha Theta, said her sorority, along with Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, instituted a round-the-clock watch on their joint float this year, after SAE fraternity’s float was burned last year.

    “”I think each year, the night before Homecoming, a group of people go around torching floats,”” she said.

    Last year, SAE’s float was burned after the parade, when it was left out on the front lawn of the fraternity house.

    In 2003, Sigma Alpha Epsilon was placed on a suspended loss of recognition after five members tore paper off Delta Tau Delta’s Homecoming float.

    Like the Thetas and SAE members, Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and its partner Alpha Phi sorority are also concerned with security, said Wade Poindexter, a psychology freshman and member of Pi Kappa Phi.

    The fraternity members spent about 20 minutes setting up their security camera so it shows the float, Poindexter said.

    The fraternity planned to have two men on watch at all times, he said.

    The thought of losing their float is frustrating, Gilliland said.

    “”It sucks because we spend so much time and money on it,”” she said.

    The total costs, which come out of the houses’ Homecoming funds, came to around $4,000, Gilliland said.

    Poindexter said his group spent about $600 on just the wooden platform for their rented 15-foot trailer.

    Time was a big consideration for Theta and SAE, Gilliland said.

    “”It’s been a disastrous week with so much going on,”” she said.

    The two houses had to have all their members helping out Wednesday night to finish the bulk of the work.

    The rest of the work was finished bit by bit throughout yesterday, she said, so members could go to class and get ready for a house function that evening.

    All in all, about 120 people worked on their float, she said.

    “”We worked really long hours,”” Gilliland said, adding that members would start in the early afternoon and would not finish until midnight.

    Although it would have been better if they started earlier, Gilliland said members had to study for tests and keep up on their studies.

    This year’s Homecoming theme, “”Arizona Hails All Heroes,”” has many interpretations among float builders.

    The theme for Theta and SAE’s float incorporates the Army, with a hand-made, painted wooden tanker truck coming out of a replica of “”A”” Mountain, she said.

    “” (SAE has) some pretty artistic guys on their homecoming committee,”” she said.

    All 10 members of the float entourage will be wearing fatigues and other Army-like accessories to honor the soldiers, she said.

    The theme for the Pi Kappa Phi float is not precisely centered around heroes, but it does include a football field and rock stars, including representations of ’80s bands like AC/DC, Poindexter said.

    The College of Pharmacy entered a float for the first time in years, said Liz Mellon, coordinator for the College of Pharmacy Alumni Affairs, Special Projects and Events Office.

    Mellon said the last year for which there is photographic evidence of a pharmacy float was 1985.

    “”It’s been a long time, so we’re really excited that the students are doing one,”” Mellon said.

    Float committee chair and first-year pharmacy student Michelle Johnson said the committee members brainstormed about their heroes and decided on four: a police officer, Uncle Sam, a pharmacist and an Army officer. To incorporate school spirit, all of the figures are Wilburs, dressed to fit each part, she said.

    The heroes, made by pharmacy students, are made of chicken wire and papier-mǽchǸ, Johnson said. Platforms for each were made of wood.

    Also made of chicken wire and papier-mǽchǸ is the California bear mascot, caged and dressed in a T-shirt made by pharmacy students to look like the jersey of one of the California Golden Bears’ players, Johnson said.

    The float took more than two weeks to build, she said.

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