Tomorrow marks the 114th year that Western Illinois University has been open. If you haven’t heard, April 24th is known as Purple and Gold Day and WIU has many events in store to celebrate the day. Although Purple and Gold Day is an all-day event that has taken place for 14 years now, Assistant Director of University Relations Teresa Koltzenburg ’92 ’11 wanted to shake things up a bit.
This year WIU is hosting an “I LOVE WIU” photo contest. “I thought, well, maybe we should do some kind of student generated contest,” Koltzenburg explained. The creation of this contest was a University effort; various people from across campus brainstormed and came up with different ideas for a contest. They molded all of those ideas into one, thus creating the photo contest. To participate in the contest, students, staff, faculty, alumni, anyone, really, just needs to take a picture somewhere on campus showing what they love about WIU. Then, they add the words “I ♥ WIU” to the photo. “It was a group effort,” Koltzenburg said. The Alumni Association wanted to get involved and encourage alumni to participate…and there’s still time to enter the contest. For more information on the contest, visit www.wiu.edu/news/newsrelease.php?release_id=11575.
Next on the docket, the Student Alumni Leadership Council (SALC) and the Alumni Association were planning to line University Drive with Purple and Gold flutter flags tomorrow morning; however rain predictions canceled these plans. The Alumni Association’s Graduate Assistant Amber Bedee explained why this was to be included in the first place. “This year we really wanted to create a feeling of pride on campus to celebrate Purple and Gold Day,” Bedee said. Here’s hoping we can put the flags up next year during a rain-free Purple & Gold Day!
But the rain won’t dampen all plans. The Alumni Association will be handing out temporary Rocky tattoos to help boost school spirit for Purple and Gold Day from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Union concourse tomorrow. Then, it will be time for the large group photo. “We really want all students, faculty, staff and alumni to attend (and be at) Hanson Field at 1:15 p.m. to take the picture,” Bedee explained. So if you are not doing anything tomorrow right after lunch, make sure you’re wearing purple and gold attire and head out to Hanson Field! If it is raining, the photo will be moved inside the Rec Center.
Next on the day’s agenda is Grad Blast which will be held at the Sports Corner from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Grad Blast is the first and largest event welcoming graduating seniors to the Alumni Association. But Grad Blast isn’t only for students; alumni are encouraged to come out and welcome the newest members of the Alumni Association. “By attending Grad Blast, alumni can help create a community where new graduates feel welcomed and see how they can give back,” Bedee said.
Finally, the inaugural Rocky Run (a 5K walk/run on Saturday, April 26) will wrap up all of the Purple and Gold Day events. The Rocky Run was created by the SALC to promote pride among everyone and continue campus traditions in connection with Purple and Gold Day, Bedee explained. “The proceeds from the event support SALC and its many campus-wide traditions including (events like) Paint the Paws, Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day, and Grad Blast,” she said. The Rocky Run is more than just a 5k run/walk; it is an opportunity to bond with other alumni and students while making more memories at WIU. To add to the fun, there will be a contest included in the race…I’m talking about the “Devoted Fan Contest”! Carrie Van Vleet, an assistant director with Alumni Programs, explained this new contest. “Whoever wants to go head to toe in purple…we’re going to choose the most devoted fan,” she said. All you have to do is rock your best purple and gold clothes, or even paint yourself purple before the race! (The Alumni Association will be supplying the body paint.) And maybe the best part…the winner will receive a $100 cash prize!
Talk about showing school pride! I for one can’t wait to support WIU tomorrow by wearing Purple to match my already painted purple and gold nails. As you can tell, if you missed the photo contest, there is so much more to take part in during Purple and Gold Day. I hope to see you at one of the events and remember, don’t just bleed purple and gold, wear purple and gold!