A Penguin Prize Patrol was handing out prizes to students wearing YSU colors.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- They were lined up a dozen deep around the Airbrush Tattoos table to get black-paint tattoos on faces, arms and other body parts.
The tattoos are only temporary and will wear off in about three days -- just long enough to be in place for Youngstown State University's homecoming game Saturday.
This is Homecoming Week at YSU, and the university has scheduled a weeklong series of events to boost student spirit for the big game against Northern Iowa at 4 p.m. Saturday.
The tattoo table, set up on the first floor of Kilcawley Center on Wednesday, was a busy place all day. Artists were using stencils to paint temporary tattoos on students, who could choose a design from dozens of possibilities set out on the table.
"I wanted to be like Iron Mike," said freshman Rodney Cason of Akron in his best (and very accurate) imitation of former boxing champion Mike Tyson, as he displayed a replica of Tyson's famed facial tattoo.
Homecoming is "just a week of fun," said Cason, a communications major.
Tabitha Kennedy of Niles, a sophomore early childhood education major, opted for two tattoos -- a crescent moon on her left shoulder and two roses on her right.
"Those are my favorites," she confided. "I'm going to try to keep mine as long as I can."
The festivities leading up to homecoming are the most fun, she said.
Tattoos weren't the only attraction in Kilcawley.
The Penguin Prize Patrol, a group of Coca-Cola employees, was marching around inside the building to the beat of a drum, accompanied by a whistle, a horn and a lot of noise, handing out homecoming prizes to students found wearing YSU clothing and carrying or drinking a Coca-Cola product.
The goal is to boost student interest and spirit for homecoming, a member of the patrol said, adding that the students seemed to enjoy the attention. The patrol was getting a lot of smiles, she said.
Prizes included Coca-Cola gear, Coke products and even tickets to the homecoming game.
The scheduling office at Kilcawley was festooned for the occasion, decorated with bright red and white paper balls, pompoms and even a red and white inflatable penguin.
The student receptionist, Samantha Jay of Boardman, a freshman nursing major, was dressed appropriately, wearing a YSU sweat shirt.
Outside Kilcawley, Cassandra Padula of Newton Falls, a junior English major, was setting up a table for Alpha Xi Delta sorority's annual Great Pumpkin fundraiser. It's an annual homecoming event in which students are given pumpkins to decorate and the results are displayed outside Kilcawley, The students vote for their favorite by dropping money into cans.
Money raised from the event is donated to area children's charities, Padula said.
"It's definitely a packed campus this weekend," said Shannon Tirone, director of YSU Alumni Relations. It's difficult to get an accurate count of how many alumni return to campus for homecoming because each of the university's colleges host their own events, she said.
The weather is supposed to be good, unlike last year, Tirone said, and that means a good turnout.
There are 35,000 YSU graduates living in the immediate area, and many thousand more living around the world, she said. Every graduate is sent a brochure outlining the various homecoming activities, including the individual college programs, she said.
One major event will be the Half Century Club reception and luncheon at the DeBartolo Stadium Club at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Tirone said. Invitations were sent to all who graduated at least 50 years ago to celebrate the induction of the Class of 1956 into the Half Century Club.
Centennial next year
Events are building toward the YSU centennial celebration next year, Tirone said, predicting that the fall 2007 and fall 2008 homecomings will be bigger and better than ever.
This year's homecoming will officially end with the Penguin Club Jamboree at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at The Georgetown, 5945 South Ave., Boardman. The event features a silent auction and reverse raffle. Tickets are 50 for the dinner and 100 for the raffle and are available by calling (330) 941-1YSU. All proceeds benefit the General Athletic Scholarship Fund.