Celebrating homecoming with gumbo

2016 Homecoming Queen Maggie Hinson, left, and University President John L. Crain, right, cutting the cake to start Gumbo Ya Ya.
Annie Goodman/The Lion's Roar 

In the middle of Homecoming Week, a crowd of people gathered in the War Memorial Student Union Park to partake in one of the oldest Homecoming Traditions, “Gumbo Ya Ya.”

“When I was a student and now, ‘Gumbo Ya Ya’ is my favorite homecoming event,” said Development Representative Rachael Beard, an alumna. “It’s just really fun. Everybody gets outside. Everybody’s around. There’s food, there’s drinks, there’s games, and it’s just a really cool activity.”




“Gumbo Ya Ya” happened Wednesday, Oct. 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and featured gumbo, cupcakes and games set up by various departments. The event began with last year’s Homecoming Queen Maggie Hinson and University President Dr. John L. Crain cutting the “Once Upon a Homecoming” cake and ended with the presentation of this year’s Homecoming Court and Beau Court.

Beard feels this kind of event is important to foster school spirit among the students.

“A big part of college is school spirit,” said Beard. “And so, these kinds of events are a great way to get students together, get them hyped, get them excited and get them out to the games to support their school.”

Kelly Dorsey, a graduate student majoring in kinesiology set up at a table for the University Health Center with a wheel people could spin for a chance to win a prize if they correctly answered a trivia question.

“We are participating in ‘Gumbo Ya Ya,’ and we are giving out prizes as well as getting the students more involved in the Health Center,” said Dorsey. “Letting them know where we are and broadcasting who we are.”

Dorsey expressed the importance of students being engaged on campus.

“It’s pretty important because it’s more about involvement,” said Dorsey. “You want to get your students more involved, and if you don’t, then it’s pretty much just gonna be a bland school. That’s something you don’t want.”

Area Coordinator for University Housing Aaron Johnson explained the benefits of getting students involved by hosting events such as “Gumbo Ya Ya.”

“I think it’s important because it all goes back down to what we’re really trying to do, which is to engage our students in a more dynamic way,” said Johnson. “Because when students are engaged, we find that they tend to be more successful and complete their college career.”