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How pomping creates Homecoming traditions and strong relationships in SEMO’s Greek Life
Every year, SEMO’s Homecoming brings together alumni, students and parents for a weekend filled with football, parade festivities and tailgating. To make this weekend happen, the preparation involved takes significant time and effort, one of the campus groups involved is Greek Life.
During the Homecoming Parade, Greek Life organizations present their Halloween-themed floats created through a process called pomping. Pomping involves rolling tissue paper into little balls, which are glued onto wooden boards to create an image representing each Greek Life organization’s homecoming theme.
Greek Life organizations aren’t required to pomp, but the tradition has been with the organizations for decades. Director of Campus Life Michele Irby has worked with the Homecoming Planning Committee for 25 years. Irby said Greek Life organizations have been pomping since she was a student at SEMO in the late 80s.
“Our technique has improved over the decades,” Irby said. “Pomping used to be just, you know, stick a little piece of tissue paper through some chicken wire. Now they have developed a style where they roll it around a marker, and it's very tight and very precise. And they're beautiful.”
For all Greek Life Homecoming events, a sorority and fraternity are paired together. Delta Delta Delta (Tri Delta) and Sigma Phi Epsilon are one of the Greek Life pairs, and their homecoming theme is “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
After the recruitment process takes place for Greek Life in early September, the pairing started pomping. Every member is required to put in an equal amount of work. Junior occupational therapy major and Tri Delta Homecoming chair Mikayla Beachle said pomping usually takes 10 hours per week. Tri Delta decided to paint their board in addition to pomping, this year.
“I didn't want to put any stress or negativity within Homecoming,” Beachle said. “Now it’s only like three to five hours. I feel like it's a bonding time between us and the fraternity we're matched with.”
Tri Delta senior nursing major Paige Emmenderfer said she enjoys the bonding that happens during pomping, plus the reward of the final product and hard work.
“I like the conversations we have when pomping,” Emmenderfer said. “I remember for my freshman year, we were up to three or four in the morning just doing it. And yeah, it sounds hard, but in the end, you know, you have those memories to reflect back on.”
Beachle said when new members arrived, they barely knew each other's names, but during the pomping process, members joked, laughed and talked about their lives, developing stronger friendships.
“The most rewarding part has been the members getting closer,” Beachle said. “It's just a great bonding experience. I love hearing all of people's memories from years past about what parts they loved about Homecoming, and how they got so close with certain people.”
On Oct. 29, the Homecoming parade will start at 9:30 a.m. The parade begins at Capaha Park and goes down Broadway, ending on Main Street. For more information on Homecoming events, visit the campus website.