Homecoming festivities back in person

Homecoming Week kicked off with Color the Campus on Sunday morning as students painted the windows of the Marshall Student Center and The Fit. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

The celebratory spirit is back on campus as students, faculty, staff and alumni get ready for the start of homecoming festivities featuring an in-person comedy show, concert and parade, as well as tournaments and carnival rides.

This year’s budget for the weeklong celebrations totaled $276,75, compared to $234,739 in 2019. The events will take place across all three campuses and bring back face-to-face celebrations for the first time since 2019.  

Homecoming Week at the Tampa campus kicked off Sunday at 10 a.m. with Color the Campus, an event where students painted the windows of the Marshall Student Center (MSC) and The Fit with green and gold paint. 

The week continues with Homecoming Kickoff and the Stampede Comedy Show at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at the National Pan-Hellenic Council Plaza lawn. Comedian and writer Opey Olagbaju will open the Stampede Comedy Show before actor and comedian T-Murph takes the stage to charm the audience with his jokes.

At kickoff, which will feature speeches from coach Jeff Scott, Vice President of Student Success Paul Dosal and Alumni Association Director Bill McCausland, students will be welcomed by Rocky and cheerleaders.

The night will end with the crowd favorite, “mascot smashing,” where a replica mascot of the Houston Cougars will be smashed on stage in anticipation of Saturday’s game.

Four teams of 10-11 students will compete in Tuesday’s Bull’s World Cup on Tuesday. The Green and Gold will take place from 4-6 p.m. at the Alumni Center where students race around campus to learn about USF traditions before time runs out.

Later that night, the teams will showcase their skills in activities including soccer and dodgeball during Field Night at 7 p.m. in Fowler Fields. 

Students will crown royalty on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. in the MSC Amphitheater during the Homecoming Ball. This year, 11 students are competing in Tampa, eight in St. Pete and two in Sarasota-Manatee.

T-Pain, who first performed at USF in 2007, will headline Thursday’s Homecoming Concert. The event will take place in Lot 35 at 8 p.m. The event, with a $124,000 budget, will cost $153,000. 

Sales for the concert tickets began Oct. 28 and will run until Thursday at 7 p.m. Students can purchase tickets for $10 and one guest ticket for $15.

Family and Friends weekend, beginning Friday and extending into Saturday, will allow loved ones to visit USF and experience some of the Bull pride. 

To participate, students have to pay $20, and all other attendants aged 12 and older can register for a $40 fee and those under 11 are free. Participants will receive promotional items and participate in activities across campus, including a canoe and kayak ride at the USF Riverfront Park. 

Students will be able to enjoy carnival rides for free as part of the Homecoming Carni-Bull Friday at 5 p.m. in Lot 35. Rides include a ferris wheel, “Scrambler,” “Leap of Faith Rock Wall,” “Giant Fun Slide with LED Light Show.” A budget of $58,194 was allocated for the carnival.

The Running of the Bulls Parade will travel along USF Holly, Genshaft and Alumni Drive starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, featuring floats representing departments and organizations across the USF community. In total, CAB received 47 entries for cars, trucks, golf carts, floats and walking groups that will showcase their USF spirit throughout the parade. 

The Grand Marshall, who leads the parade, will be George Selvie, a former USF football player, representing the 25th football season. Selvie, who was a defensive end during his time at USF, played for the St. Louis Rams, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

“We really wanted to tie back in the 25 years of football because that’s what we’re celebrating this year with [USF Athletics],” said Fuentes.

The final Friday event will be the men’s soccer game against Temple from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Corbett Stadium. Tickets can be purchased on TicketMaster.

The USF vs. Houston game at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday will end the celebrations. Students and community members will be able to watch the game, starting at 7:30 p.m. and join in the tailgating festivities.  

The Bulls Blitz will be available to take students from the MSC to the stadium starting three hours before kick off. In order to ride on the buses, students are required to have a mask, student ID, government ID and BullsConnect downloaded onto a mobile device.