Annual Homecoming pep rally features dance, food and fun

Valerie Chu, Reporter

Northwestern held its annual Homecoming pep rally Friday, concluding with the crowning of its Homecoming Wildcats at Deering Meadow. 

Medill senior Coop Daley and Weinberg senior Hannah Zimmerman were crowned the Homecoming Wildcats — a gender-neutral title used in place of Homecoming King or Queen. 

The pep rally also included food, games, custom license plate making and performances from a variety of a cappella and dance groups, as well as the NU Marching Band. 

Weinberg sophomore Becca Muro, who performed as part of Dale Duro Latin Dance Co., said she enjoyed dancing at the event. 

“We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, so I’m really proud of what we got out of having only two and a half rehearsals,” Muro said after the performance. “I (also) just really like listening to the a cappella groups that are going on right now. I’m a big fan of music and love listening to all the arrangements they do.” 

Ellen Carpenter (Medill ’02) agreed. Carpenter came to the pep rally after attending one of the alumni reunion events that were a part of Homecoming Week programming.

Carpenter, who performed with Significant Others A Cappella as a student, especially enjoyed hearing the a cappella groups.

“Hearing the a cappella groups was really fun because I feel like it’s such a big part of collegiate life,” Carpenter said. “And then having all the empanadas and swag — what could be better? I feel like (the pep rally) is a great way to bring people together.”

Weinberg senior and NUMB member Grace McDonnell was one of the students nominated for Homecoming Court. She said she was excited to accept the nomination because she was inspired by past marching band members who were on Homecoming Court. 

“They were so involved, and they just brought such an energy to the university,” McDonnell said. “When I was nominated, I really wanted to do that for everyone else here at Northwestern.”

McDonnell said the community at NU provided a place where she felt like she belonged and being nominated gave her a chance to do the same for others. 

When NUMB finished playing, McDonnell, along with Homecoming Wildcats Daley and Zimmerman, went onstage in full uniform. 

McCormick senior and NUMB clarinet music section leader Chima Aharanwa said it was “just spectacular” to see that both the Homecoming Wildcats were also in the marching band.

“It increases our visibility, and I’m always for something like that because band is a hidden gem at Northwestern,” Aharanwa said. “I have lots of purple pride in me right now.”

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