By Kyle Wittenrich
MACOMB, IL – Last week, homecoming took over at Western Illinois University (WIU). Throughout the week, multiple events took place for students and alumni on campus. The fan favorite “Paint the Paws” event happened on Wednesday, October 19, and brought out many WIU students and alumni.
At WIU, homecoming has been a sacred tradition for years. Bringing out students, alumni, and community members, homecoming serves as a way to celebrate the spirit of WIU. Each year, there is a designated theme that helps outline the events chosen for the week. This year’s theme was “90s Blockbuster: Rocky Brings the Good Times Home”. The theme was sprinkled throughout campus with festive decor and was capitalized during the annual WIU Homecoming Parade.
I had the opportunity to attend the “Paint the Paws” event this year. Being my first year as a student at WIU, this was my first time attending the iconic event. I got to witness many groups of students and alumni working together to decorate the campus streets.
Participants were tasked with helping paint over 200 golden paws along University Drive and Western Avenue. People went out in teams and were given a paw-shaped stenzel and gold paint. Starting in the late afternoon, groups would depart from Western Hall and go out in the streets to begin working. Within a couple of hours, University Drive and Western Avenue were filled with golden Rocky paws.
The event was hosted as a collaboration between Western Illinois University Alumni Association and Student Alumni Council. Not only did it seek to showcase the spirit here at WIU, but it also served as a way to welcome WIU alumni back to campus. On Friday, October 21, the WIU Alumni House hosted an alumni social, followed by an alumni cookout Saturday afternoon before the Leatherneck Football Game. Even if you did not get a chance to participate in this year’s “Paint the Paws” event, go check out the paws painted on University Drive and Western Avenue to still feel that homecoming spirit.