‘More than just a football game’

Auburn homecoming rooted in tradition

Published: September 13, 2017
Updated: September 14, 2017
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In many ways, Auburn University is known for its traditions. The pregame eagle flight, rolling Toomer’s Corner and Tiger Walk are just a few of Auburn’s beloved traditions. Each year, homecoming week brings a flood of returning alumni home to the Plains to celebrate their alma mater. At the center of it all is Omega Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, or ODK, at Auburn—the official host of homecoming week and sponsor of many of the events that students, faculty, fans and the Auburn Family enjoy.

Miss Homecoming

Perhaps the most recognizable tradition of homecoming week is the naming of Auburn University’s Miss Homecoming during halftime of Auburn’s football game, this year versus Mercer. Voted on by students, Miss Homecoming represents the university throughout the following year and shares her campaign with the community and the state. The week of homecoming, the top five Miss Homecoming candidates campaign for votes by talking about their platforms and connecting with students.

On Friday, ODK hosts a reception for the candidates, their campaign teams and their families to celebrate the week. ODK is also responsible for the halftime show during the game and each year invites the university president and the governor of Alabama to present Miss Homecoming.

“My favorite part of homecoming is the halftime presentation,” said Sarah Reagan Tepool, ODK Omega Circle president at Auburn. “I love getting to see the top five candidates recognized on the field for their hard work. There is something special about looking around to a sea of orange and blue surrounding you; it is a glimpse of the community that is so present at Auburn. It’s more than just a football game to us.”

This year’s candidates and their platforms are:
  • Camille Smith, Open-minded. Hometown: Mountain Brook, Alabama

  • Candace Mulherin, Making Strides to End Campus Hunger. Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

  • Kayla Warner, Let’s Work for Survivors. Hometown: Daphne, Alabama

  • Morgan Gaston, Becoming Bridges with our International Family. Hometown: Guntersville, Alabama

  • Nicole Finley, Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention. Hometown: Alpharetta, Georgia 

To read more about each candidate and their platforms, go to the Miss Homecoming website. Voting for Miss Homecoming takes place Friday, Sept. 15, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. online at aub.ie/sgavote. The crowning of Miss Homecoming will be Saturday, Sept. 16, during halftime of the homecoming football game versus Mercer. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.

Homecoming Parade

Another cherished homecoming tradition is the parade, which developed in the early 1960s when fraternities would decorate the front of their houses for a contest in honor of homecoming. Deemed a fire hazard by the Auburn fire marshal, the decorations were transferred to lawns before eventually being moved on campus. A parade through downtown and campus made the festivities more easily enjoyed by students, alumni and fans. Now student organizations decorate floats and enter them into a competition, sponsored by ODK. Auburn’s Student Government Organization hosts the parade.

History of Homecoming

Auburn’s homecoming festivities began in the 1930s when the Auburn Omega Circle of ODK introduced the idea of the student body electing a female representative, to be crowned at the homecoming football game. The representative would showcase the characteristics of an ideal Auburn woman and later be crowned Miss Homecoming.

Omicron Delta Kappa received its Auburn charter on May 22, 1928. ODK recognizes and encourages superior leadership and exemplary character in collegiate and community life. The organization encourages collaboration among members across the five phases of campus life: scholarship, athletics, service, communications and arts.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 29,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.