Homecoming tradition changes venues yet maintains appeal


The annual event offered attendees games, food and prizes

St. Edward’s University UPB held their annual Homecoming Casino Night on Feb. 21 at the Austin Sports Center, which was packed full of students, parents, professors and alumni.

The formal affair included gambling, dancing, food and raffle prizes. Students got in free while guests’ entry cost $15.

Michelle Mowry, Programming Coordinator for Student Life, reported that 771 students attended the event and estimates the total attendance at just over 1,000 people.

Every Casino Night attendee received chips for gambling at the blackjack, roulette and craps tables, provided by Austin-based entertainment company Casino Knights. Gambling ended at 10:15 when all the chips could be redeemed for raffle tickets. The raffled prizes included a Sony Action Cam, a FitBit Wristband and a $50 gift card to Alamo Drafthouse.

Casino Night provided sweets from Tiff’s Treats and Nothing Bundt Cakes and a candy bar put together by UPB. Staff members from Topper TV acted as bartenders serving nonalcoholic drinks.

“I wish they had more food options besides desserts,” Junior Social Work major Madeline Hatcher said.

This year marked the change in location from the St. Edward’s Alumni Gym to the Austin Sports Center right across from campus on Woodward Street because the Alumni Gym is currently being renovated. Overall, the location change was welcomed.

“I liked the location this year,” Hatcher said. “There was more room for activities.” 

Junior Communications major Nia Rasheed agreed. “I liked the venue selected. It provided the students with more space,” she said.

For the attendees that did not want to gamble, DJ Kyle Clark and a dance floor provided entertainment.

“My favorite part was dancing with my close friends,” Rasheed said. “The DJ played very good and diverse music. 

Dispersed through the thick crowd of people were students wearing sashes that read “Homecoming Court” on them as Casino Night provided an opportunity for the court to be announced, which happened at 9 p.m. 

“My least favorite part was the presentation of the homecoming court,” Rasheed said. “I feel like that could have been done at a pep rally or basketball game.” 

Casino Night was advertised as a cocktail attire event and the dress code was almost universally followed. The event provided a unique opportunity to spend time with the St. Edward’s community in a formal atmosphere. In fact, Hatcher said her favorite part of the night was “seeing everyone all dressed up.”