The Washburn Homecoming Parade occurred the morning of Oct. 29.
The week of Oct. 24-29 was Washburn’s 2016 Homecoming week, which welcomed back the university’s alumni and helped demonstrate our Ichabod spirit. After a whole host of events, it all culminated in a parade around the university campus at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29.
Many groups from both Washburn and the greater Topeka area showed up to walk, drive and pedal through the parade route, handing out candy and celebrating the day.
“Oh, we always enjoy getting together with the community anytime they have a function of any kind,” said Todd Harrison, captain of the Topeka Fire Department. “Whether it’s a carnival, church function or a parade, it helps us associate and keep closer with them. Not to mention it helps the kids identify with us a lot more too.”
Many public servants from the Topeka area were involved at the event, as well as political candidates, high school marching bands and university faculty. While the parade was a way for Washburn to show its spirit, it also showed off civic pride in Topeka as well.
“Just being able to connect with [the kids] and help them understand a little of who we are,” Harrison said. “They want us out there in the community and we enjoy it. Just getting to know the people a little bit more and getting connected with them on that level. I’d say it’s absolutely one of the better parts of the jobs. I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t enjoy doing it.”
Additionally, many student organizations and academic groups marched in the parade. Greek Life, athletics, extracurricular clubs and more walked through, spreading awareness and handing out candy to kids.
“It’s really cool to be involved and you get to see all the different activities and what goes into actually having a good float and being a part of a great event,” said Reagan White, freshman nursing major and member of Alpha Phi. “It brings the community together because it’s not just Washburn students and families that come. It’s people from all around Topeka that come to the parade.”
Finally, with the election so close, political candidates marched through the parade as well. Staff and volunteers from Jerry Moran’s campaign for U.S. Senate, Vicki Schmidt’s campaign for State Senate and Becky Noice’s campaign for Shawnee County Register of Deeds were all at the parade.
“This is great, especially with all the different entries in here too, seeing the community come together and support Washburn University,” said Lance Quilling, representing Vicki Schmidt’s campaign. “Just being able to do that and be part of the community here and really get to see the voters in a different way other than just the door-to-door. The community really takes care of Washburn here and this is a great example of that.”