Chalk the Walk: UT’s Newest Homecoming Tradition

Mindy Tucker

The success of the newly added Homecoming ’06 event, Chalk the Walk, promoted school spirit and team work from the organizations and individuals who participated. UT student Katie Govin brought forth the idea to this year’s Homecoming Board. “In high school I [did] this event, and it went over really well,” said Govin. “I spoke with the Homecoming Board about incorporating it into Homecoming week in an effort to get organizations and individuals involved in school spirit.” After a unanimous vote in the event was added into last Thursday’s line-up. Chalk the Walk ran just as its name suggests. Students and organizations picked from pre-selected sidewalk spots around the campus to adorn using colorful chalk pieces. Although the purpose of this event was to have a good time, the drawings each had an underlying message. According to Govin, the chalked spots were to include an advertisement for the Homecoming soccer game. “The requirements for the chalking must include: the organization’s or individual’s name, [involve] the Homecoming ’06 theme: “Vintage UT,” [give] information about the Homecoming game and [about] UT,” said Govin. “We want the students who are passing these spots to stop and observe the marks of the participants and at the same time notice the memo of the game.” Not only were the participants pitching the game day within their art, but they were competing for spirit points as well. The students and organizations were allowed to register for this event during the week prior to Homecoming. Registration forms and chalking packets were available in the Student Activities Office. The packets consisted of: chalk, a list of game requirements and the locations on campus where participants were permitted to chalk. After that, the students were able to be as creative and spirited as they desired while illustrating their chosen spots, Govin said. UT students Jamarah Letshwiti, Mary Ayebae, Selina Ong’ong’a, Dianka Diaby and Floacher Letshwiti represented the new African Student Association (ASA) in Chalk the Walk. According to the members, not only was it important to them to support Homecoming but to also to promote the name of their club around campus. Their President Jamarah Letshwiti was the one responsible for going to the Student Activities Office and registering the group. The members spoke on behalf of their organization, wanting others to know that this club is open to everyone, not just African-Americans. The group crafted the shape of Africa and listed all of its countries inside. The other requirements for the illustrations were included in their work as well. There were other groups who signed-up for the purpose of participation and showing off school-spirit. “Our president addressed Chalk the Walk to us during one of our sorority meetings,” said Delta Gamma member Becca Gibson. “As an organization on campus we wanted to be more involved and this appeared to be a great opportunity to do so.” There were five other members of Delta Gamma who took part in this event, according to Gibson. Keeping with consistency to the other Homecoming events, the students were judged on their work. According to Govin, the judging for all the Homecoming events was done by faculty and staff for fairness. The judges looked for creativity, a representation of UT, the incorporation of the Homecoming theme and publicity of the Homecoming soccer game in the students art work. The winners for the competition were: ISO coming in at 3rd place, Sig Ep placing 2nd, and the Art History Honor Society won 1st place. With the overall participation and success that Chalk the Walk has received, it may be safe to say that it has found a spot in UT’s Homecoming traditions.

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