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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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EIU Homecoming Parade unites students and community

Prince Pappoe
Eastern Illinois University’s president Jay Gatrell and the city of Charleston’s mayor, Brandon Combs, throw candy for people during EIU’s homecoming parade Saturday morning.

Eastern Illinois students and families in the local community gathered for the annual Homecoming Parade Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.  

The EIU Homecoming Week consisted of student events such as casino night, a block party and a family fun night. The Parade kicked off the weekend having many people involved such as the Panther Marching Band, Homecoming royalty and even Eastern’s President Jay Gatrell walking the streets and throwing candy.  

With that, the homecoming week festivities are not just felt by the Eastern Illinois students.  

Courtney Jarmon and her family have lived in Charleston for only a year, but she said it is a new tradition that they enjoy.  

“I love homecoming,” Jarmon said. “But just the whole day in general is really fun and its’s great to just be hanging out with all your friends and family.”  

According to Jarmon, the excitement of homecoming week has been something her family have noticed.  

“We got to campus a lot and we live pretty close,” Jarmon said. “It’s fun to hear everything that happens. We can hear the games, we could hear the block party last night, so I think it’s fun that there’s things for them to do and then things for us and kids to do as well.”  

Eastern Illinois police officer Joel Stewart, who helped with directing traffic during the parade, said seeing familiar faces is one of his favorite moments from the event. 

“I’m from Charleston, so I know a lot of people that are in the parade,” Stewart said. “So, I see people in the parade, you know, wave at them when they holler out at me and things like that, so I enjoy that.”  

Stewart also said events like the parade are great for building relationships between campus and the community.  

“It needs to happen more because I feel like we got a disconnect between the community and university,” Stewart said. “There’s just not a whole lot of support so if we can do this, you know, when relations are good, obviously it’s better for the community as a whole.” 

The parade started at the main square then traveled on Polk Avenue before crossing Lincoln Avenue to end near the parking lot at O’Brien Stadium.  

The parade was followed by a tailgate where students, staff, and alumni were welcomed to celebrate. The tailgate offered food, games, and music before the Eastern Football Team took on UT Martin at 2 p.m., marking the end of homecoming week.  



 Drew Coffey can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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Drew Coffey
Drew Coffey, Reporter, Columnist
Drew is a senior television and video production major. He previously served as a reporter for The News.

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