How to Build a Float 101

By Emily Hegi

Homecoming at SMU is one of the most exciting weeks of the year.  As a sophomore, I couldn’t wait to experience it again!  Every year, different organizations on campus participate in a variety of Homecoming events.  These events include (but are certainly not limited to) a field day competition on the Dallas Hall lawn, decorating a wooden cut-out of our mascot, Peruna, and of course, building a float.

Before this year, I had never built a float before, so naturally I assumed it would be easy.  I stand corrected.  To save all of you from making the same misguided assumption, I want to present to you Float Building 1o1:

The first thing you have to do when making a float is plan.  I cannot stress this enough.  You have less a week to build the float, and trust me, you need that entire time for building.

(LEFT: This is me not planning for the float and regretting it)

The second thing you have to do is actually build the structure.  The structure is made out of wood, which inherently means that you have to use power tools to assemble the wood.  My job during this stage was to stay out of the way.

(RIGHT: Notice that I am not in this picture because there are power tools present)

After the structure is assembled, it must then be covered in chicken wire.  I would like to take a moment here to point out that chickens do not get enough credit for living with this treacherous wiring everyday.  I cannot tell you how many times I got caught in the chicken wire or, more embarrassingly, how many times I could not get myself out of it.

(LEFT: Again, not in the picture because I am busy detangling myself somewhere)

When the chicken wire has been tamed and the float appears to be nearing the end, think again, my friends– Because now, it is time to pomp.  Pomp is a word that regularly means ceremony and splendor, yet anyone who has ever pomped can tell you that is not the case.  In regards to homecoming, to “pomp” means to coat the chicken wire in spray adhesive and then proceed to fill each hole with a single piece of tissue paper.  Easy enough, right?

Exactly what I thought too, until my hands become sticker than the chicken wire and before I knew it, I was more pomped than the float.

(RIGHT: Fellow ambassador Carissa Laughlin and I pose with the pomped version of President Turner)

(LEFT: We left quite the paper trail by the time we were finished)

Eventually, by some unknown miracle, the floats are finished.  Although it may have been a long, sleepless, rather hazardous week, marching in the parade behind the float makes it all worth it.

(RIGHT: The finished product!)

Homecoming 2012 was, yet again, a success.

For more photos, check out Student Foundation’s Homecoming for the Holidays Facebook page:

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