UWF Homecoming Special 2021
UWF splashes into homecoming week
October 20, 2021
Walking around campus Monday morning during the second week of October, you couldn’t deny that there was a heightened sense of Argo spirit in the air.
Blue and green cluttered various offices and windows on campus. Argos in green sashes could be spotted all around spreading the Argo spirit with their peers. Students gathered with smiles on their faces and a sense of unity as they checked in and received their blue wristbands. Argo pride had indeed arrived.
The Cannon Green was brought to life with food, inflatables and free UWF gear, which could mean only one thing.
Homecoming was finally here.
The endless days of Zoom classes and virtual events were now a thing of the past as students gathered together once more to celebrate the one thing that they all have in common, their love for UWF.
The week filled with events kicked off with a bang during Cannon Fest.
“Kicking off the Homecoming week with Cannon Fest was such a surreal experience,” Student Activities Coordinator, Amos Davidson said. “After not being able to have a traditional homecoming last year because of COVID, having our first in-person traditional homecoming event with about 440 people felt magical.”
Even Argie couldn’t help but indulge in playing a game of cornhole and taking on an Argo in the inflatable jousting ring.
During the event, students collected their free homecoming swag in preparation for what was to come later in the week, the homecoming football game.
“I love the feeling of school spirit permeating the air,” Davidson said. “I felt that feeling when I saw ribbons tied on the Anin’s Cannon. I felt that feeling when I saw the windows painted all around the Cannon Green. I felt that feeling when I saw the students smiling and laughing at our first event for homecoming.”
The Cannon Fest crowd was introduced to the homecoming court, a group of 12 men and women that were eager and ready to keep the Argo spirit alive for the week.
Homecoming court members were nominated by faculty across campus who felt they knew of a student that embodied the essence of what it means to be an Argo. These students were chosen due to their example of leadership and for embodying the true Argo spirit.
While several students were put through the interviewing process to make it on to the court, only twelve could be chosen.
Throughout the week, UWF students voted on their top two picks to win the homecoming crowns and titles which would be announced at the football game on Saturday.
“Being on court meant facing my fears of fitting in and being in new social situations so that I could have fun, show school spirit and represent Honors Council,” Olivia Danner said.
Throughout the week, members of the homecoming court weren’t the only ones fighting to come out on top at halftime during the homecoming football game. The Golden Fleece Challenge (GFC) was also taking place during the week. Twenty-eight teams formed by various student organizations set out to compete against each other in various challenges, all hoping to earn their team the title of the GFC champion.
They faced their opponents head to head for the first time at Cannon Fest during the tug-o-war challenge, hoping to pull the points towards their teams to gain a strong start on the week filled with challenges.
Canon Fest was only the beginning. There were still many events to be had and competitive challenges to be faced in the coming days of homecoming week.
With GFC teams and homecoming court members having a race just around the corner, students grabbed the duck tape, got ready to suit up and prepared to make a splash.
It was time for a cardboard boat race.
GFC teams, homecoming court members and even UWF faculty gathered around the pool at the Aquatic Center with their cardboard boats in tow, ready to paddle their way to victory.
The races were broken up into four brackets, the first two being GFC teams, then the homecoming court, and finally the faculty boat race. Before the race began, the homemade boats, which could only be made up of cardboard and duck tape were inspected and then judged for the style portion of the competition.
Once the boat beauty contest was complete it was time for paddlers to hop in and paddle their way to the winner’s circle.
Teams each chose one member to row their cardboard boat across the pool. Their mission was to paddle the boat across the pool while without falling out or swimming across. The sound of the roaring crowd filled the aquatic center as GFC teams assisted their racers into their boats.
The faculty race was an opportunity for GFC teams to gain some extra points. Teams were able to bet on which faculty would win, and the ones who chose correctly were awarded points towards their team’s total.
Out of the three faculty teams, grad school brought home first place, with team UWFCOB in second and CASSH in third place.
After the boat race, students grabbed some free pizza, took the waterslides and enjoyed a friendly water balloon fight.
The week of homecoming was reaching its peak and GCF teams and homecoming court members had been working hard every day as they pushed their teams in hopes of earning more points before the time was up. Thursday brought a chance for the teams and court members to take a break to enjoy some entertainment.
A crowd of students gathered outside the field house, eager to dance the night away as they awaited entry to the homecoming concert.
This year, the annual Colchis concert brought the Ying Yang twins and Fetty Wap to UWF for a night of fun and a bit of a break from the week filled with challenges and competitions.
The Ying Yang twins got the party started with a bang and brought the crowd to life with their performance.
Students danced and sang along with the hip-hop duo.
The Ying Yang Twins performance consisted of a mixed-matched ballet of all their popular hits. The Twins weren’t afraid to drop it low and have a good time with the audience.
They wrapped up their performance with the crowd jumping to the beat to their final song, before heading off stage to give way for Fetty Wap himself.
After a short intermission, it was time for the one person everyone had been patiently waiting for to take over the show.
“Fetty, Fetty, Fetty,” The crowd chanted as they waited for Wap to take the stage. A chant that quickly turned into excited screams when he came into sight from backstage.
Wap got the people jumping as he performed some of his hottest hits including ‘679’ and ‘Trap Queen’ among others that the crowd couldn’t help but to sing and dance along with.
Wap had a stack of sweat towels on stage and would periodically toss them into the crowd during the concert. Several students left the night with their own Fetty Wap sweat towel in hand.
Towards the end of his performance, homecoming court member Abbi Hopper jumped on stage to take off her homecoming sash and hand it over to Wap, who proudly wore it for the rest of the night.
“Colchis was such an amazing experience,” student, Sara Akerman said. “I love that UWF was able to get Fetty Wap to perform for our student body.”
Wap finished the evening by entering the crowd to greet, high-five and take quick selfies with the students in attendance. “He touched my hand, and I cried,” a girl from the concert proclaimed as she held up her hand in amazement at what had just happened. Wap made sure to go to both the front and back of the crowd to give as many students as he could the opportunity to interact with him on a more personal level.
While the concert brought students together for a night of community and fun, homecoming was far from over. There were still plenty of challenges for GFC teams to partake in, voting was still open for homecoming court and most importantly, the UWF football team still had a game to play.
As the week came to an end, teams finished up the final challenges of the week and prepared the game and tailgate at the Blue Wahoos Stadium Saturday, where GFC teams and homecoming court would finally learn who would take home the winning titles. That wasn’t to be announced until halftime, and there was still a game to play and a tailgate to be had.
Argos flooded to the tailgate hours before kickoff to ignite their Argo spirit for the game. UWF, who coming into the game was number one in the division, was amping up to take on the University of West Georgia, which held the number 12 division seat.
The tailgate got started four hours before the game, giving Argos plenty of time to charge up their Argo spirit to bring to the game. The tailgate was packed with both Argos and Argo lovers alike. The UWF and cheerleaders entertained the crowd while they eagerly awaited the arrival of the UWF football team.
While tailgaters wrapped up the fun and got ready for the game, the UWF Argos warmed up and got ready to take on the West Georgia University (WGU) Wolves. The match-up between the two teams had been anticipated all week and the Blue Wahoo Stadium began to fill with blue and green.
The Argos and the Wolves took to the field to kick off the game with over 7,000 fans in attendance.
The Argos were unable to put points on the board during the first quarter, giving the Wolves the lead with 7 points.
At the half, Agros were trailing 9-17. They refused to give up the fight that easy and found themselves taking over the lead, 26-24 in during the fourth quarter with just over 14 minutes to spare. The Wolves, however, came back fighting and scored a touchdown to take back the lead.
Wide receiver, Ka’ Ron Ashley matched the school record of most touchdown receptions in a single game, catching 12 passes for 160 yards.
The Argos didn’t have time on their side and were unable to come back before the clock ran out, forcing them to take a knee to finish the game.
That left Argos leaving the homecoming game as a loss with the final score being Wolves 30, Argos 26.
“This team is not done,” UWF quarterback Austin Reed said. “We’ve got a lot more left to do.” Despite the loss, 31 of the 52 passes by Reed were completed for three touchdowns and a total of 410 yards.
While the game didn’t end in the way Argos were hoping, halftime brought the moment that many students had been waiting for.
The UWF 2021 Homecoming Court walked their way out to the field together as the crowd was introduced to the 12 students that were all hoping to bring home the title of Mr. and Ms. UWF.
After introductions, the time had finally come. The GCF challenges and games had come to an end and homecoming court had done their jobs of spreading the Argo cheer throughout the week.
The court took a moment in centerfield and held their breath, locked arms with friends and family members and took in the moment as the GFC and homecoming Mr. and Ms. were announced.
Gibson never imagined that this is where she would find herself in her senior year at UWF. “When I was being crowned Ms. UWF I couldn’t help but think about the 18-year-old, freshman year Meghan-Grace Gibson,” Gibson said.
After overcoming the challenges that freshman year brought, Gibson became fully devoted to getting involved and embracing what it means to be an Argo. UWF has had a profound impact on her ever since.
“It [UWF] has given me so many opportunities and experiences, it’s provided me with a newfound confidence in myself, and I’ve gained amazing memories that will stay with me forever,” Gibson said.
For Matt Hulse, being crowned Mr. UWF was the greatest honor he has ever received.
“Although this is an individual honor, none of this would ever be possible without all of the amazing people at this school that has made me the person I am today,” Hulse said. “I will always have a special place in my heart for The University of West Florida.”
In the Golden Fleece Challenge, team Alpha Tau Omega took home the trophy in the blue bracket while team Kappa Alpha claimed first in the green bracket.
Though UWF didn’t bring home the win against the Wolves, Homecoming 2021 was still a week that many Argos will look back on with fond memories. It brought students together once more after over a year of separation, trials and tribulations.
“The best part (of hosting homecoming) was that I was able to present this year’s homecoming after everything we’ve all been through with COVID-19,” Homecoming Executive Director, Darby Drapeau said. “I loved being able to spark the fire of Argo pride back into my peers.”
Homecoming was a week that gave students the chance to take a moment away from rushing to graduation and just enjoy this special time in their lives and the memorable moments that come with it. Argos met new friends, reconnected with old ones and came together as a team to enjoy their homecoming, something that many students had yet to experience.