Campus security increases during Homecoming Week festivities
The influx of campus-goers during Homecoming Week has seen security and preparation measures unmatched at any time during the rest of the year.
Saturday’s game against Colorado culminates the festivities for some, but for others, football only scrapes the surface of the week’s events, which are planned for nearly a year in advance.
“It’s our Rose Bowl,” said Melinda Burke, president and executive director of the University of Arizona Alumni Association, who plans all Homecoming-based events, excluding sports. “Homecoming is an event we plan for that takes 10 months.”
Efforts made in conjunction with campus administration, the athletics department and the University of Arizona Police Department result in events such as a 50-year reunion and a pep rally, bonfire and tents for Saturday’s tailgate, among others. Burke said her favorites are the Alumnus of the Year ceremony, showcasing outstanding achievements by UA alumni, and Saturday morning’s parade.
“Logistically it’s a huge undertaking,” Burke said, but the combination of driving organizations on campus is coordinated so people, “are at the right place, at the right time.” However, presence doesn’t necessarily ensure smoothness.
All of the events on campus allow for a greater possibility for things to occur, said Joe Bermudez, a UAPD crime prevention officer involved in Homecoming preparations. “We’re out there, we’re being visible, we’re patrolling the tailgate areas looking for underage drinking, and an increased probability of fights and disorderly conduct to occur.”
The increased activity doesn’t change Bermudez’s routine, however, and he said it’s still the normal patrol units, and having more people in an area doesn’t necessarily trigger more crimes. Burke and Bermudez account for a smoothly-run weekend, but added that their preparation goes without reward if people don’t enjoy themselves.
For some, 2012 Homecoming Week will be their first Homecoming experience ever.
“I think Homecoming sounds like a really exciting thing and I wish we had it,” said Belle Tomasetti, a political science senior on a yearlong study program from Australia. “I wish we had this culture.”
Tomasetti said few college events in Australia match the hoopla surrounding Homecoming.
“It’s awesome, I think it should be like that in Australia as well,” she said. “It’ll be a good thing because the people get to see all the older people here and how the university’s changed.”
Others aren’t as excited about this Homecoming season.
“It doesn’t really differ any for me at all,” said Liz Orr, a communication senior. “Except for these annoying tents that are going on that I got to walk through.”
Regardless, Bermudez’s goal for the weekend is simple.
“We want everyone to come out and enjoy themselves and just have a safe weekend,” Bermudez said.