By Hannah Sedigh, Athletics Communications Student Assistant UCFAthletics.com
This week, everything around campus felt a little bit different. A little bit more exciting.
With a week full of events for students and alumni alike, 2012 UCF Homecoming is coming to a close tonight as the Knights take on the SMU Mustangs.
It all kicked off this past Saturday, October 27, as students packed the UCF Arena for Concert Knight to see headliner Snoop Dogg. Always an electric scene, the opening to Homecoming also featured performances by rapper Sammy Adams and band Cold War Kids.
“With an event like a concert, especially one that has such big names performing, it creates a ton of energy,” said Rasheedi Williams, UCF student. “It’s great because you have everyone in one venue celebrating Homecoming.”
Students also were able to enjoy themselves and give back to the local community with a variety of other events this week, including, Service Day, Movie Knight, Skit Knight and Comedy Knight featuring Jim Gaffigan on Thursday.
Thursday night also brought many UCF alumni to the arena for the UCF Alumni Association’s Annual Black and Gold Gala. This event honors graduates who have had tremendous accomplishments after their time as Knights.
UCF’s most well-known and treasured tradition took place Friday afternoon at the Reflecting Pond.
Check out Spirit Splash from the perspective of a student taking part in the event in the video above.
Spirit Splash -- which has been named Best Campus Tradition in the state and in the nation by different outlets -- serves as the pep rally before the game. Students celebrate by rushing in the pond while UCF’s cheerleaders, Knightro and the Marching Knights cheer them on.
“It was my best experience at UCF so far,” said UCF freshman Tedra Mason. “I feel like a true Knight!”
Mason and the other attendees were joined by head football coach George O’Leary and seniors Billy Giovanetti and Kemal Ishmael, who pumped the crowd up for UCF’s Homecoming game.
Before anyone can take the field for the game, UCF Homecoming, the student-run organization that plans the entire week, gave students one more chance to come together and show their black-and-gold pride.
Memory Mall played host to the Inaugural Homecoming Tailgate. This family friendly tailgate featured live music, a Hot Dog Eating Contest and many promotional giveaways.
“We (UCF Homecoming) had some students suggest a tailgate, so we wanted to give it a try,” Haley Groves, UCF Office of Student Involvement coordinator said. “We wanted to create a new tradition that is family friendly, and we thought a sober tailgating event would be perfect.
“I think that the event was very successful and we accomplished that,” continued Groves.
From Concert Knight to the UCF Homecoming Tailgate, Knights fans get pumped up for the game and the special events that take place during halftime.
During the intermission, fans will be treated to a performance by the Marching Knights who will be joined by alumni members of the band. Also, Robert Pritchard, a former defensive lineman who suffered a massive stroke in July will be honored. Halftime will come to a close with one of the most anticipated parts of Homecoming, the crowning of new UCF royalty, the Homecoming King and Queen.