Law Students Organize Homecoming
To people in Gainesville, the word “Homecoming” carries all sorts of meanings. A huge party. A shorter school week, with less time to study. A game you can’t afford to lose.
To Brian Roof (2L), Homecoming is all that and a great deal more. Roof is president of Florida Blue Key, the group founded to organize the events surrounding the big game. For decades, FBK has been charged with putting together UF’s beloved homecoming parade, managing the world’s largest pep rally, hosting a banquet for alumni and other duties.
This year – as happens often – the group is run largely by law students. Roof is in his second year as president of FBK, and Vice President Chris Carmody (3L), Treasurer Lauren Fackender (2L) and Secretary Cecily MacLeod (2L) all hail from the Levin College of Law. For the past few weeks, they have been working around the clock to balance their studies with their Homecoming responsibilities.
“The phones have been ringing off the hook this week,” Roof said in an interview from the FBK offices a few days before the game. “We have people calling non-stop for tickets to Gator Growl, and we’ve been inundated with questions about the parade.”
Roof said he typically spends the week before Homecoming dealing with last-minute crises. This year, for instance, an eleventh-hour problem with insurance policies almost kept the group from getting the portable buildings it uses as headquarters for Gator Growl.
By last week, one of the group’s toughest jobs – the nationwide search for a comic to perform at the Growl – was already done. The group chose improv virtuoso Wayne Brady to headline the show.
“We wanted to find someone people know and like, but we also wanted someone with an unusual take on comedy,” Roof said. FBK advises comics to “keep it PG-13,” but Roof acknowledges that, in the past, some acts have ventured into material that is a little more racy than the group expected.
“We do our best to keep it clean, but in a crowd of thousands, you’re always going to have at least a few people who find something offensive,” Roof said.
Roof and other FBK officers were also part of the show: Fackender and Carmody appeared in a pre-recorded comedy newscast shown between acts. Roof and others appeared in a skit described as a “self-parody” of Florida Blue Key.
After the show, Blue Key’s law-student organizers will get back to business as usual – which means studying round-theclock to make up for material they missed in the weeks before Homecoming.
“I wish I could say we all had a chance to relax after Homecoming is over,” Roof said. “But I don’t see that happening for a few weeks at least.”