A carnival with inflatable obstacle courses, food booths and student performances will be held on the intramural fields tonight to kick off UCLA’s first official homecoming weekend in seven years.
The two-day event, which is being staged the same week as Parents’ Weekend, will culminate with a football match between UCLA and its Northern California rival UC Berkeley at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
The goal is to unify students, faculty, alumni and parents and increase school spirit, said Emily Resnick, president of the Undergraduate Students Association Council. Resnick made the revival of the homecoming tradition part of her campaign platform last year.
Some students, however, have raised concerns about the amount of money being spent on the event. The Homecoming Committee received about $24,000 from the USAC surplus fund.
Christina Wu, a second-year business economics student, said she felt the money could have been redirected to programs such as Covel Tutoring on the Hill, which was cut last summer.
“I think it’s a waste of resources,” Wu said.
She will not be attending the carnival, she added.
Resnick said the committee is aware of student concerns about the money and tried to be as money-conscious as possible.
Kelly Knickerbocker, executive director of the Homecoming Committee, said the committee did not spend all of the funds allocated for the event and worked to minimize expenses.
The carnival will last from 7 to 11 p.m. and will be similar to Bruin Fest, said Knickerbocker.
The carnival is open and free for all UCLA students, alumni and parents, she added.
Thirty different student organizations will provide entertainment such as face painting, Knickerbocker said. Carnival-type foods will be available for sale, Knickerbocker said.
Matthew Tong, a first-year biochemistry student, said he was not aware of the event but will not attend because of midterms.
He added, however, that he thinks homecoming is a good idea.
“It allows students to interact and have fun,” Tong said.
Chancellor Gene Block is set to attend the weekend’s homecoming events and will speak about the return of the tradition at tonight’s carnival, said Resnick.
Due to the weight requirement of the Intramural Field, there will not be rides or other large carnival installations, said Mandy Schafenacker, codirector of the homecoming committee and a fourth-year molecular, cell and developmental biology student.
Instead, there will be an obstacle course and Velcro wall inflatables, she added.
There will also be UCLA-themed photo booths for students to take pictures with their friends, Knickerbocker said.
The carnival will also be an opportunity to rehearse for an all-student flash mob scheduled to take place during the third quarter of Saturday’s game. An instructional video for the dance is available on YouTube, Knickerbocker said.
Members of the Homecoming Committee will be at the game with instant cameras to snap photos of the student section during the game, she said.
“It’s a way for students to remember their homecoming and have a chance to say they took part in the flash mob at the game,” Knickerbocker said.