Crowds pour out for UND parade

RAIN Homecoming Parade a hit despite wet and windy weather.

Even with the constant rain and cold winds, hundreds of students, children and Grand Forks residents lined up Saturday from the Gorecki Alumni Center to North 25th Street to watch the annual Homecoming Parade.

The procession was made up of student organizations, sororities, fraternities and community businesses.

Despite the uncooperative weather, staff from the UND Alumni Association Foundation — the parade’s organizer — didn’t call off the event.

“We did not cancel the parade. We knew that there was going to be rain, but students came showing their spirit,” said Brooke Conlin, associate director of alumni relations and events. “It’s one of our biggest homecomings ever. We have the alumni and all our friends here, so rain or shine, we were going to have it.”

The rain didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of those both in the parade and on its sidelines.

Hockey cheer team members Ashley Sersland and Laurel Peabody both participated in the parade, walking and cheering alongside those in floats.

“We usually hand out candy to the crowd and get the crowd riled up for the football game,” Sersland said.

While the parade showcases many aspects of the UND organizations and facilities, Peabody sees a wide arrangement of people.

“A lot of people from the community come,” she said. “Alumni, children and families who like to go to the football games and the hockey games.”

Coming home

Many alumni also were seen on campus throughout the week and were treated to a brunch during the parade.

Alumnus Gerry Harrison came to the brunch to celebrate his class’s 50th reunion.

Harrison’s wife Vivian noted the changes she saw at UND and reminisced about her husband’s time at the university.

“The buildings are new and it’s expanded a lot,” she said. “He lived under the old football stadium — under the bleachers. He loved going to the university here.”

The majority of planning the parade, brunch and other Homecoming events fell onto the shoulders of Lisa Schuster, the foundation’s outreach coordinator.

“Lisa is in charge of student Homecoming. So all of the activities that have gone on — from the royalty voting, to pepfest, to the breakfast — that has all been put on by Lisa. She just joined our team in February and has been doing an awesome job,” Conlin said.

Paula Kaledzi is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].