Homecoming: Fraternities and Sororities and Tissue Paper
Shannon Gray 11-28-11 Essay 4 Pomped Up for Homecoming The long nights of folding colored paper into meticulous shapes over and over again until your fingers are raw and bleeding. The even longer nights of unfolding the paper, fluffing it up and sticking it into chicken wire. This is called pomping, or also known as placing squares of colored tissue paper to boards. It is also a way to decorate plywood boards that are just a small part of a larger float.
Chicken wire, lots of colored plastic sheets and power saws litter the basements and backyards of sorority and fraternity houses all over campus throughout the months leading up to Homecoming week. Pomping is a thorough task which every new sorority member is required to participate in before homecoming. Starting three months in advance we go to the fraternity house which we are paired up with and pomp. Each week is something different. The first night is a “get to know them” party where we bake them goodies and meet our “pomping partner”.
A pomping partner is someone you are paired with based on your likes and dislikes. This is the person you are paired with each night of pomping. Now let me tell you, you get really close with this person especially when we pomp twenty hours a week. Each week of pomping is different. The first couple of weeks you fold tissue paper into a six section fan shape. Each tissue paper is different colors. There is brown, red, white, yellow and black. Colors depend on the theme of each sororities float. The next few weeks you then unfold all the tissue paper you have folded previously and connect it to chicken wire.
The chicken wire is layed out on a flat table with tape outlining where we are supposed to place the tissue. This process alone is very rigorous. We spend hours upon hours putting pomp into this chicken wire to form a huge float in the end. We also are given pomp on weekends that need to be completed and turned in by Monday. Several weeks later after all the long hours of pomping are finished we then begin to build our float. This is usually the day before homecoming. I can guarantee you feet can be seen scurrying under these covered structures at all hours of the day and night.
When putting our float together we first have a trailer and then a base structure built out of wood. Sturdy wood that is! After we have sawed several pieces of wood to make our base structure we lay our chicken wired pomp across the float to form our beautiful piece. On this night, basically the Greek community is dead for class the next day but experiences a night full of bonding, memories and a lot of tissue paper. While Greek groups seem to dominate the homecoming discussion, other organizations do participate in the events. Organizations are placed either in the large or small group category depending on their size.
Members of both Greek and non-greek organizations participating in homecoming have other things in common as well including the mad rush to finish the floats before judging takes place. Our floats are judged on creativity, how big it is and how tight the pomp is to the chicken wire. This year my sororities theme was “shooting to the moon”. Our floats colors were red, white, blue, brown and green. We had a long float of a football field with a rocket ship in the middle. Girls from my sorority road on the float dressed in space suits. Let me brag here a little and say we got first place.
Along with the many pomping hours we also receive homecoming hours. This is where we have to attend certain events all throughout the actual homecoming week. These events include skit night, spirit night, and the parade. Skit night consists of sororities and fraternities performing skits they have come up with to show their spirit for Florida State University. Spirit night is a night where talented young men and women represent their fraternity or sorority and individually perform their talents. The parade is the last event where all of our long hours of pomping pay off and our float is seen by the public and then judged.
After working for close to two months, the builders of the floats won’t be worried about what materials were used; they’ll just be glad that they won’t have to look at small squares of tissue paper again until next year’s homecoming. Despite the challenges of constructing the floats and collaborating with other groups, I believe pomping, and homecoming as a whole, is an important part of both Greek life and student life at Florida State University. Along with working hard it also brings great bonding time and friendships that will last a life time.