Homecoming night. It’s a phrase that carries a certain magic, a certain excitement. It’s the largest expression of school spirit at Chapman, as students and families crowd the stands of Wilson Field to watch the football team deliver big plays.
But this expression of pride wouldn’t be possible without the men and women of University Services, who oversee the advertising, organization and safety involved in the event.
“All during football season, our staff meets once a week to go over the event management for the week,” said Sports Information Director Steven Olveda. “The meetings are a bit longer in the weeks leading up to Homecoming, as we include Fire and Public Safety in our weekly meetings to make sure we are on the same page in terms of event management.”
During Chapman’s 36-6 win over Whittier College on Saturday night Oct. 5, over 4,000 fans, a mix of students and parents, were in attendance. With that larger-than-normal amount of support, Public Safety had heightened security and staff on hand.
“We’ll probably have three to six people on duty at all times,” said Randy Burba, chief of Public Safety. “Not always officers, but staff to direct the crowd, help people, handle parking and dispatch.” In addition to Public Safety, Strategic Services collaborated with the Chapman Student Government Association (SGA) and the Faculty Senate.
“We work with SGA on the presentation of the Spirit of Chapman Award,” Olveda said. “The Faculty Senate uses the Presidential Suite and we work with that group to coordinate guest lists and access to the box.”
At halftime, that Spirit of Chapman award, an honor selecting two seniors that “exemplify the excellence and values of Chapman University,” was presented on the field by President Danielle Struppa to seniors Shannon Domingsil and Alex Ballard. Prior to Saturday night, junior quarterback Jonston MacIntyre mentioned his excitement for taking the field on Homecoming night, after the team’s brief hiatus from play the week prior.
“I’m looking forward to playing again,” MacIntyre said. “For Homecoming, we always get a really big crowd, so I’m excited to experience that.”
The Panthers held a convincing lead throughout most of their performance. Their running game, led by three touchdowns from freshman Marcos Reyes, kept them moving downfield and a stout defensive performance kept Whittier from scoring a single touchdown.
The night was capped off by a 15-yard touchdown pass from MacIntyre in the fourth quarter. In the midst of Chapman’s victory, MacIntyre and the rest of the team were met by waves of cheering and screaming from fans in the audience. MacIntyre said after the game the fans’ energy was palpable.
“It was a fun game and a good win for the team,” MacIntyre said. “The crowd kept us energized the whole game so we wanted to put on a good show for them.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported approximately 2,000 attendees at the Homecoming game. This information has been corrected.