Design and Harmony

Allyson Gaspard and Rachael Younger paint Mannino’s Family Practice Pharmacy for the “Community Decorating Contest.” The painted windows followed Rebecca Mannino’s vision for giving Roomie his own fairy tale.
Zachary Araki/The Lion’s Roar

Students decorated campus and downtown Hammond for the start of Homecoming Week.

Businesses paired with students for the “Community Decorating Contest.” The windows were judged on Oct. 2. Campus decorating started on Oct. 1 at 1 p.m.

Rebecca Mannino, a senior marketing major painted the windows of Mannino’s Family Practice Pharmacy.




“My dad, who owns the pharmacy, was a Southeastern graduate, and Sadie Mannino, my sister who works with my dad, also went to Southeastern,” said Mannino. “It’s kind of cool carrying on the Southeastern tradition. I painted the windows last year for the pharmacy, but this is the first time that we’re competing, and it’s really exciting.”

Rather than follow a particular storyline, Mannino decided to mix influences from several of them and give Roomie his own fairy tale.

Mannino said, “You have Roomie as a prince, and he’s on a white steed in the beginning. The premise of my windows is that he is going to go defeat the Cardinals to defend Southeastern’s honor like how a prince protects a princess’s honor. Southeastern’s kind of that princess, if you will, in the storyline, and I have him riding off from Southeastern to go defend it, and then the Cardinals, I’m gonna have the mascot riding this dragon because in fairy tales a lot of princes go off to fight a dragon. So, in the other side of the window it’s gonna be Roomie in a battle with this dragon that’s being ridden by the Cardinals. It’s gonna be a very epic and exciting scene, and obviously, we want Roomie to win, defeat the Cardinals and defend Southeastern’s honor, which I’m very confident he will.”

Baptist Collegiate Ministry painted the windows of 5 Stones Media based on Rapunzel. Breigh Allen, a senior special education major and a member of BCM sees downtown decorating as a way to meet the businesses.

“We like to get to know the businesses that are downtown just to make connections and things like that,” said Allen. “It’s also really cool to drive downtown and see all the different paintings and stuff like that.”

Whereas downtown decorating featured the homecoming theme, campus decorating focused on university pride.

“We are focusing on using a lot of green and gold and banners that just advertise homecoming,” said SGA President Seth Leto. “We felt that many people who pass by our campus may not understand if many of the items are theme based, but it will be a more clear celebration of homecoming if we stick to just focusing on Southeastern and our colors of green and gold.”

Born and raised in Hammond, Mannino recalled her past experiences of downtown decorating.

“I remember growing up and it’s October, and you see windows painted,” said Mannino. “It’s just such an exciting energy, and a lot of the people in this downtown area like my dad, they went to Southeastern, so it’s just such a great thing to unite everybody. You just feel it. There’s this energy. There’s just positive spirits everywhere, and I feel like that whole week that it happens, everybody’s ready for homecoming. It’s homecoming this, homecoming that, and it’s just an exciting time. I love it. I think Hammond’s such a pretty city already, and I think it just adds to Hammond’s charm.”

Allyson Gaspard, a graduate student in business administration helped Mannino decorate.

“We’re helping our friend with her business to help paint with her, but also I am a current student,” said Gaspard. “This is my last homecoming, so I figured I’d get more involved with this homecoming.”

Maudie Cusimano, an alumna helped paint Mannino’s pharmacy. She compared her participation in homecoming now to before she graduated.

“Honestly, I was not involved much when I was in school,” said Cusimano. “I’m more involved out of school. I graduated and stayed in Hammond and got into this more through friends at work than I did when I was actually at school.”

Leto shared his thoughts on campus decorating.

“I see campus decorating as a way to create excitement on campus, and as a way to show the student body and the local community that we are celebrating,” said Leto. “It helps create the homecoming environment.”

Lacey Griffin, a junior social work major and member of BCM explained why she participated in campus decorating.

“Just to be involved and help our organization become known,” said Griffin.

According to Mannino, homecoming does more than unite the community.

“It just helps promote legacy, and what’s the purpose of it all without legacy for the future for the future students of Southeastern and everything to show them how our past graduates have done,” said Mannino. “It’s all full circle.”

Rachael Younger, an alumna who helped Mannino decorate, enjoys homecoming.

“I was in a sorority when I was here, and I was always a heavy participant in homecoming,” said Younger. “I love it. I love seeing school spirit all over town. It’s great. I love the window being painted. I love ‘Lip Sync.’ I love the parade.”

Gaspard shared her thoughts on the homecoming theme “Once Upon a Homecoming.”

“It’s different than what we’ve done in the past,” said Gaspard. “I like the fact that they tried to stray away from doing a theme so many times.”

Leto discussed why this homecoming theme was chosen.

“We wanted to select a theme that was very well known by all students,” said Leto. “We are making efforts to project homecoming as more than just activities for organizations but for all students, so we wanted to choose a theme that would easily be relatable and fun to all students.”

Lacey Griffin, center, and Breigh Allen, left, wrap a bar in green and gold as part of campus decorating for their organization, Baptist Collegiate Ministry to show university pride during Homecoming Week. Students participating in campus decorating earned participation points.
Zachary Araki/The Lion’s Roar