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Homecoming festivities bring out Stony Brook school spirit

Taiko Tides performs at the alumni barbecue on Oct. 15 for Homecoming. Alumni, old and young, came from all over to celebrate and reminisce about their years at Stony brook. SARAH STEIL/THE STATESMAN
Taiko Tides performs at the alumni barbecue on Oct. 15 for Homecoming. Alumni, old and young, came from all over to celebrate and reminisce about their years at Stony Brook. SARAH STEIL/THE STATESMAN

Seawolves Town, in the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium parking lot, was home to the traditional pre-Homecoming game tailgate and alumni festivities on Saturday.

Events taking place in the lot marked the end of Wolfstock, the annual week-long celebration of homecoming, and preceded the Seawolves’ victory against the University of Rhode Island Rams later in the evening.

The Wolfstock barbecue and the student tailgate gave students, alumni and community members the opportunity to show off their Seawolf spirit before the game.

The lot was split into two areas, one for university students who were tailgating, and one for alumni and families to enjoy games and food.

Cars blaring all types of music and students dancing and playing games like Frisbee and football filled the student lot. Many students were serving food out of the trunks of their cars or grilling on the premises.

Local businesses like Chick-fil-A, 94.3 The Shark radio station and Innovation Toyota sponsored booths and games that filled the other half of the lot. There was also a live performance by local country rock band Southbound, which inspired many attendees to start line dancing.

Despite the separation, students and alumni walked between the two areas. Parents held small children while standing right next to loud groups of students clutching classic red Solo cups.

“Everyone’s connected,” Loula Tsirakidis, a junior biology major, said. As a transfer student, she was excited to spend her first homecoming at Stony Brook with her sister and friends. “It’s a great study break.”

Students were happy to take a break from school work to enjoy Wolfstock festivities.

“Everyone here focuses too much on studying and not enough on social life,” Jonathan Rando, a junior health sciences major, said. “There’s not enough school spirit, so I try to contribute.”

The annual Wolfstock Barbeque also took place before the game. This event, which is traditionally a spot for alumni to reconnect, featured a large array of refreshments and entertainment. A candy bar, various drinks, balloon animals and a rock wall, as well as performances by the Stony Brook Taiko Tides Japanese drum team and the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band livened up the barbecue.

“We like to give back energy,” Kareena Kongyingyong, a senior biochemistry and Spanish double major and vice president of the Taiko Tides, said. “It helps with the whole festival feeling.”

The members of the Taiko Tides even took time in between performances to teach guests about playing their cultural drums.

“When we see the little kids doing it, that’s the best part for me,” Kongyingyong said.

SARAH STEIL/THE STATESMAN
Tailgaters fill the parking lot behind Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium before kickoff. SARAH STEIL/THE STATESMAN

Manny Cortes, an alumnus from the class of 1989, university employee and proud Stony Brook parent, said that he comes to alumni events like the Homecoming Barbecue to “reconnect with a lot of old friends.”

He added that Homecoming now has a special meaning to him because his daughter is a sophomore and is able to partake in the university’s festivities as well.

During the game’s halftime, the Homecoming King and Queen were announced after much anticipation. The ten candidates lined up on the field donning white sashes, with the women wearing red gowns and men wearing tailored suits.

After a suspenseful drumroll from the marching band, Casey Getzler, a senior music major and drum line captain of the marching band, and Christina Penna, a senior psychology major and president of the Cadence Step Team, were crowned King and Queen. President Samuel L. Stanley, Dean Timothy Ecklund and last year’s Homecoming Queen Ruchi Shah crowned the winners.

“Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are not enough. It’s all about human connection,” Hilda DeJesús, a class of 2007 alum and a member of the alumni board, said.

“I’ve always loved Stony Brook, but every year it gets more and more. The sports, the spirit … it’s out of control,” DeJesús said, adding that it is exciting to see how much her alma mater has grown.

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