Zilkha Center paints Homecoming weekend green

Students tailgate around cars and wear their purple and gold at the victorious 2008 Homecoming football game against Wesleyan.
Students tailgate around cars and wear their purple and gold at the victorious 2008 Homecoming football game against Wesleyan.

At noon on Saturday the football team will face off with rival Amherst for Homecoming weekend, which will feature traditional tailgates and neighborhood- and student group-sponsored social events alongside the sports match. This year’s Homecoming will also see certain new practices, as the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives is instituting changes to make the weekend more environmentally-friendly than in previous years.

The Zilkha Center plans to encourage attendees to use compostable or reusable food and drink containers and to turn off their cars while they tailgate. Zilkha will also provide separate blue bags for plastic waste and set up a recycling area where tailgaters can bring paper and food waste. The game will also include a Zilkha-sponsored tailgate, where student volunteers will inform people of various environmental initiatives around campus.

Zilkha Center Director Stephanie Boyd spoke to the mindfulness she hopes the new initiatives will inspire. “We hope that tailgaters, students and all Williams fans think about ways they can reduce their waste and look for our recycling centers at the game,” Boyd said.

One feature that will not be present at this year’s game is the hospitality tent that usually supplies free drinks and snacks for all game-day attendees. The Office of Alumni Relations has sponsored this tent for the past six years, but Director of Alumni Relations Brooks Foehl ’88 cited the financial climate as the reason for its absence. “That offering was a casualty of budget cuts, and while we knew it would diminish the atmosphere at Homecoming, it was a decision that had to be made,” Foehl said.

However, the game will still include a large alumni hospitality tent featuring chili, drinks and desserts. According to Foehl, Alumni Relations anticipates high attendance, particularly from the Class of 2009, which will be celebrating its Zero Year Reunion.

The social calendar surrounding Saturday’s football game will also lend spirit to the weekend. On both Friday and Saturday evenings from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Currier Neighborhood will sponsor a screening of the movie The Hangover. “Hookup with Speakfree,” a performance by the College’s spoken word group, will take place at Goodrich Hall from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday. The Office of Campus Life also plans to adapt the weekly Williams After Dark programming for the festivities with a Homecoming Carnival event from 9 p.m. to midnight on Friday night.
For those in the mood to party, Currier and Dodd Neighborhoods will jointly throw a “Beat Amherst” party on Friday night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in Currier Ballroom. The Griffins are sponsoring a “Swag Flu” party in Brooks House, also on Friday night.

Despite budget restrictions that stripped All Campus Entertainment (ACE) of the same funding it received for Homecoming, Winter Carnival and Spring Fling in previous years, ACE will still be throwing a party on Friday night. Additional funds totalling $1,506 requested from Campus Life and College Council (CC) have allowed ACE to plan the “Mad Cow” Party, which will take place in Goodrich from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and include music, food, drinks and party favors.

On Saturday, ACE will also join other student groups vying to win the tailgate competition sponsored by Campus Life and CC. Other organizations competing for the honors include the four neighborhoods, Black Student Union (BSU) and Minority Coalition. Katie Aldrin ’12, ACE Homecoming party committee co-chair, advised those seeking free, pre-football food to “look for a really big cow,” she said.

The alumni calendar has also slated a performance entitled “The Music of Warren Hunke ’42: A Tribute” which will feature past and present members of The Williams Octet in its 35th annual alumni concert.

On Saturday night, Spencer and Wood Neighborhoods will co-sponsor a “Home-wreckers” party from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in Spencer House and late-night snacks in Perry House from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. In Goodrich, meanwhile, the Black Student Union will host a “Black Star Affair” formal dance from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Throughout the weekend, community members and visitors can also see the WilliamsTheatre production of Company, a musical by Stephen Sondheim ’50 that will run Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m.