The tradition of Homecoming goes beyond the football games and concerts; it is the experience of togetherness and the return of alumni that genuinely shapes the event as a whole. Homecoming allows students and alumni to experience and relive decades of tradition with their fellow Gators, create new friendships, and make memories for years to come.
Third-year Computer Engineering student Kiana Diaz is currently serving as Director of Photography, but her journey with Growl began with SoulFest as an Assistant Director.
“As a Cuban-Jamaican student, I felt that there were not that many events at UF that are focused on showcasing different cultures,” Diaz said. “I felt that this is one of the few events at UF that has the opportunity to do it.”
Through her experience at Soulfest, Diaz was exposed to all the logistical work that goes behind planning an event of this magnitude, but what fueled her passion for Homecoming was how dedicated everyone that worked the homecoming event was.
Being the director of photography gives her the ability to play a part in all Growl events, whether on-campus, concert style, or philanthropic. While it is not a planning role, it allows her and her team to go behind the scenes at the events as an attendee and be able to capture memorable moments. Diaz’s position keeps activities alive forever by showing people how great the past shows were.
Many students come to college not having experienced a sense of unity and pride that homecoming provides for students. This was the case for Frances Landrum, a fifth-year Digital Arts and Sciences Engineering dual degree student.
“I went to a magnet arts high school in West Palm Beach, Florida, so I never had a homecoming. My school wasn’t traditional and I had been a visual art major for seven years which included middle school before that,” said Landrum.
She was exposed to the opportunities offered by Homecoming and Gator Growl through serving as a liaison for her sorority Kappa Delta, and her love for our organization grew from there.
“I became an Ambassador, later an Assistant Director for Art and Layout, and then the Director of Web Design, which I have been proudly for two years now,” Landrum said. “My absolute best friends have come from the Gator Growl organization and I would not trade the memories I have made with them for anything.”
From designing most of the past Gator Growl shirts to tabling under the rain and the scorching Florida heat, Landrum’s dedication for Growl is so strong that it has inspired her sister to follow in her footsteps as a current Assistant Director.
“I am so happy to be passing my love of Growl down to her, and she’s going to make just as big an impact as I did on the organization or even bigger,” Landrum said.