Stony Brook University’s Homecoming kicked off on an unseasonably warm day for early October.

From noon to 2 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2013, the Student Activities Center Plaza was overrun with carnival games and stands as well as a few emergency vehicles. Coinciding with Campus Fire Safety day, the academic mall hosted booths featuring fun and educational programming about fire safety and prevention, including a station where students were given the chance to practice extinguishing fires under the direction of Stony Brook University Fire Marshals.

Fire Marshal Tiffany Griesch teaches student Aaron Ryan the proper way to use a fire extinguisher on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 by the SAC Plaza. In conjunction with the Homecoming kick-off ceremony, today marked Campus Fire Prevention day, where local volunteer fire departments, University Police and others hosted presentations about fire safety and prevention. Photo by Sonaiya Kelley.
Fire Marshal Tiffany Griesch teaches student Aaron Ryan the proper way to use a fire extinguisher on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 by the SAC Plaza. In conjunction with the Homecoming kick-off ceremony, today marked Campus Fire Prevention day, where local volunteer fire departments, University Police and others hosted presentations about fire safety and prevention. Photo by Sonaiya Kelley.

In addition to the fire extinguisher simulator, there were several other demonstrations hosted by local volunteer fire departments, university police, and others including a smoke house trailer, an underwriters labs demonstration, a university police “goggles program,” and a campus dining cooking demo. Michael Panarello, who headed the cooking demonstration and who handles the campus’ commissary, was excited to share his expertise with students.

“I live for this,” he said. “Cooking and the food industry is something that you have to love to do. It’s not a job where you can just clock in and clock out, it’s a passion job. We do Cooking 101 classes at night, and these kids are just fired up and passionate about it, it’s good to see.”

Students were offered university gear spanning water bottles to baseball caps to t-shirts as incentive for visiting the stations, which was plenty motivation for some.

“I just came out for the free stuff,” admitted Kadeem Maragh, a resident of Dewey College in Kelly quad. “I really wanted a red SBU water bottle, but I’ll settle for a t-shirt.”

Further down the academic mall, students took advantage of the carnival offerings including multi-talented street performers, a frog toss game, football and basketball throw booths, a balloon artist and a huge inflatable couch, among other things. A DJ booth set up beside the SAC blared the likes of Justin Timberlake and Usher and contributed to the laid-back vibe.

At around 1 o’clock, the Stony Brook marching band, the Spirit of Stony Brook, performed in front of Melville library, accompanied by Wolfie, the school mascot. Founded in 2006, this will be the band’s seventh year performing at Homecoming. At the kick-off, the band performed several songs while cheerleaders and the color guard performed on the lawn in a preview of their larger half-time performance scheduled for Saturday’s football game at LaValle Stadium.

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Stony Brook’s marching band performs in front of Melville library at the Homecoming kick-off ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. The band, which was founded in 2006, is slated to perform again during the Homecoming football game. Photo by Sonaiya Kelley.

The Homecoming court also made an appearance at the kick-off, introducing themselves in front of the SAC. Candidates compete annually for the honor, which recognizes two Stony Brook students for their participation in campus life and their promotion of school spirit. The candidates are judged based on their communication skills, leadership experience, campus involvement, interpersonal skills, creative explosion, and overall presentation. The selected King & Queen will be crowned during the Homecoming football game half-time show this Saturday.

At around 2 p.m., the crowd began to disperse and clean-up began. The soccer team hosted free pizza and T-shirts on Staller steps to spread awareness about their upcoming game and some students even splashed around on a Slip n Slide on the Staller lawn. As Campus Lifetime wound down, the vendors left and students returned to their regularly scheduled academic days, at least until Homecoming really kicks off this Friday.

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