Students should have more of a voice in choosing Homecoming themes

August 31, 2017 — by Victor Liu and Vivien Zhang

While the students attending the food truck event last month flocked into the McAfee Center, excited for the revealing of this year’s Homecoming themes, many walked out disappointed over what they saw as the unrelatable movies chosen for this year.

The overall Homecoming theme “Get Schooled” features four ‘80 movies: freshmen have “Footloose,” sophomores have “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” juniors have “Back to the Future” and seniors have “Grease.”

One main issue is that few students have seen movies as old as “Footloose” or “Grease,” and as a result, many classes are holding movie nights at school in an attempt to familiarize students with the obscure themes.

In the past, conflicts regarding Homecoming themes have been minimal. However, because of the disappointment over this year's themes, students are left questioning why they don’t get a say in picking their own themes.

There’s always a strong motivation to participate in Homecoming quad days, whether it’s to prove how creative your class can be, show off your dance skills (or lack thereof) or just have fun. But for those who don’t normally partake in this event, this year seems to offer less incentive than ever, given the complaints about Homecoming themes.

In particular, many seniors are unhappy with “Grease” because unlike the themes previous seniors worked with, such as “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Toy Story” or “Star Wars,” there is no easily identifiable symbol, character or even a meme associated with the movie. Even the juniors’ theme, “Back to the Future,” has those three elements. On top of that, national interest in “Back to the Future” spiked when we all realized back in 2015 that we didn’t invent flying cars nor self-tying shoes like Marty McFly once predicted.

The theme selection process hasn’t changed much since Homecoming’s inception, with other schools such as Lynbrook also going through a very similar process. The Homecoming commission comes up with an overarching theme with subcategories for each class and announces to students in the days before school starts.

Because Homecoming ultimately is for the entire student body, the commission should allow classes to vote for the theme they prefer the most.

The commission would still provide the school with the four subcategories, but instead of making the decision for each class, the commission should instead give the classes an opportunity to choose which sub-theme they want. Seniors would get first pick, juniors second and so on, leaving the last one for the freshmen. If seniors think “Back to the Future” would be a better theme than “Grease,” then they can pick it, and the juniors would then have to take another theme instead.

Themes would be finalized after a day of voting online, and classes would be assigned the one with majority votes. In addition, theme hierarchy will still exist with this approach — historically speaking, seniors have always gotten the “best” sub-theme, and freshmen have gotten the “worst” one. However, now, instead of being assigned the least-relatable theme, the freshman class would have the last pick in choosing their theme.

This approach, while more time-consuming for both commission and class, prevents negative feedback from classes surrounding Homecoming theme decisions. After all, students can’t be angry or disappointed over a choice they made themselves.

If the Homecoming commision were to be a little more hands-off by transferring the decision-making power of themes over to the classes, the week would be a little less hectic, and the months leading up to quad day might be more enjoyable.