‘New Tops on the Block’ serves as Homecoming theme

Lashana Harney

As WKU athletics continues to adjust to its new conference, students will be celebrating its move to Conference USA during Homecoming.

The move to C-USA inspired the 2014 Homecoming theme, “New Tops on the Block.” 

Ginny Hensley, director of Alumni Programming, said “New Tops on the Block” was chosen for several reasons.

Hensley said some reasons were the move to Conference USA and the reference to the ‘80s and ‘90s band New Kids on the Block.

WKU entered the athletic conference on July 1 after departing from the Sun Belt.

“Our ideas are always what’s going to come out of a student’s mind with this theme,” Hensley said. “We like to be able to have different possibilities.”

Hensley said she expects to see throwbacks to the ‘80s and ‘90s throughout Homecoming week, but also looks forward to seeing the students’ representation of the theme.

“There’s always a couple of things that show up that we never thought was possible,” Hensley said.

Hensley said the Homecoming committee consists of 30 students, alumni and staff. The committee comes together with ideas and suggestions for the theme then votes on the top three. The top three ideas are sent on to President Gary Ransdell, who has the final say.

Hensley said the Homecoming theme helps with advertising the game.

“I think with Homecoming instead of just using the red towel or just using Big Red that you see all year long, this event is special because it’s celebrating something a little unique to the year that we don’t always get to celebrate,” Hensley said.

The tradition of the Homecoming theme dates back to the 1930s, Hensley said. The Homecoming committee tries to make each year different since the tradition has been around for a long time.

Taylor Mill senior Jenna Lehkamp serves on the Homecoming committee. She said it’s a long process trying to choose a theme.

“All of the themes we choose are unique, but this year, this theme is just really fitting,” Lehkamp said.

Lehkamp said “New Tops on the Block” was perfect for this year.

“I saw ‘New Tops on the Block’ as very fitting for the move to Conference USA,” Lehkamp said. “We are literally the new tops on the block and the rest of the committee saw that as well. It’s also a perfect twist to New Kids on the Block.”

Hensley said the Homecoming committee will sometimes brainstorm ideas from relevant events going on in the country such as presidential elections or Halloween. Other theme ideas can be completely random.

  “Sometimes it may not have anything to do with WKU at all,” Hensley said. “We’ve had Las Vegas themes, Mardi Gras themes and sometimes we take a play off of whatever team we are playing.”

Hensley said the process includes a lot of creativity, discussion and sometimes a little help from Google.

“We don’t try to steal other schools ideas but we do review them,” Hensley said.

Hensley said the process takes a year.

“We will start talking about next year’s theme right after this one is over,” she said.

Hensley said the Homecoming committee has done Facebook polls in the past, but this year Ransdell knew “New Tops on the Block” was the right path.

“Some years we have ideas that are very even in what we are looking at for the final selection and some years there is one that truly rises to the top,” Hensley said. “This year, this one did.”