Ja’Viania Conley and Matthew Wilson

2017 SIU Homecoming King and Queen - Matthew Wilson and Ja’Viania Conley

October 18, 2017

Conley, Wilson reign over homecoming festivities

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Homecoming 2017 festivities drew large crowds to Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Oct. 14 as alumnus and NBA All-Star Walt “Clyde” Frazier served as grand marshal for “The Saluki Odyssey: Heroes, Myths and Traditions.”

Students chose Matthew Wilson as their king and Ja’Viania Conley as queen in online voting by more than 2,200 students. Wilson, of Carbondale, is a senior radio, television and digital media major with a communication studies minor, while Conley, of Lansing, is a junior majoring in sports administration.

There was great weather throughout the week for various activities including the homecoming parade and football game, where the Salukis beat Illinois State, 42-7, before more than 8,100 fans.

For the first time at homecoming, “Southern Illinois High School Heroes,” students from throughout the region representing 21 high schools, were honored for their academic achievements, leadership and student involvement based upon nominations by their respective schools. The students walked in the parade, received tickets to the football game along with recognition for their accomplishments.

More than 50 units and six marching bands from throughout the region participated in the parade. Alpha Gamma Rho and Sigma Kappa won the best large float award while the Automotive Technology Organization took the prize for best small parade float.

Marching band awards were presented as follows:

  • Class A: first – Carbondale Community High School.
  • Class B: first – Goreville High School, second – Cobden Marching Band.
  • Class C: first – Harrisburg Middle School, second – Carbondale Middle School.

The homecoming court also included:

  • Marissa Asbury, a senior dental hygiene major from Franklin Grove.
  • Katie Friend, a senior with a double major in political science and criminology and criminal justice from Morris.
  • Danielle Graham, a senior healthcare management major from St. Anne.
  • Tierney Rhone, a senior social work major from St. Louis, Mo.
  • Joshua Bowens, a junior political science major with psychology minor from Chicago.
  • Brian Laurore, a senior electrical engineering major from Antioch, Tenn.
  • Jordan Taylor, a senior radio, television and digital media major with minor in journalism from Morton Grove.
  • Zack Turner, a senior cinematography major with a radio/television minor from Berlin, Germany.

Other highlights from the week included a large pep rally, a blood drive that collected 180 pints of blood, a comedy show, outdoor homecoming concert, and a collection of more than 1,050 non-perishable food items for the SIU Food Pantry.

Several local businesses took time to “Paint the Town Maroon” and Arnie’s Sandwiches won the top prize. 

There were a variety of other campus competitions in conjunction with homecoming as well. They included:

  • Banner Competition – 10 student organizations participated with Kappa Alpha winning the small bracket and Alpha Gamma Delta winning the large bracket. Banners were displayed on the balcony of the International Lounge.
  • Recreational Sports and Services hosted a dodgeball tournament, with Phi Kappa Tau taking first and Delta Zeta finishing second. Alpha Gamma Delta earned spirit points for best uniforms.
  • Southern Illinois Dance Company won the Lip Sync Battle, with Delta Phi Epsilon finishing second.
  • Door Decorating Competition – 32 campus departments and units participated. Career Services won the trophy and earned lunch from McAlister’s Deli.
  • Spirit Competition – 11 SIU organizations entered, with Alpha Gamma Delta winning the large bracket and Kappa Alpha taking the small bracket title. The winners received a perpetual trophy and $500 for their registered student organization.

Other homecoming week highlights included a big pep rally drawing hundreds of participants, a blood drive that collected 180 pints of blood, a comedy show with Troy Walker, an outdoor homecoming concert featuring Yard Squad reggae band and DJ, and collection of more than 1,050 non-perishable food items for the SIU Food Pantry.