Homecoming Gala: Behind the Scenes

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During Homecoming, the Clemente Center transforms from a varsity gym of baskets and bleachers to a first rate, gala-worthy venue. Prep begins four days in advance. The moment the final buzzer sounds for the last basketball practice of the week, teams of staff and student workers begin stowing the bleachers, folding up the basketball hoops, covering the wooden gym floor and setting the stage. The total transformation involves:

  • Flooring: Covering the entire 18,375-square-foot gym floor requires approximately 410 individual sheets of protective covering.
  • Tables: This year’s gala included a total of 69 tables—53, 60-inch 8-tops; 14 72-inch 10-tops; two, 84-inch 12-tops.
  • Décor: Attendees enjoyed a trip around the world complete with maps, luggage, international landmarks and more.
  • The 32-by-20 stage and 20-by-20 dance floor were used for both the Thursday night student talent show and the Saturday night gala.
  • Staff: It took a team of 30 people 92 hours over the course of five days to transform the space from start to finish.
  • Place Settings: 3,500 pieces of flatware were polished before and after the event.
  • Catering: 40 servers worked from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. and served 250 pounds of chicken.

View a time-lapse video of Homecoming prep

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I am a lover of all things social media and blogging. In addition to those areas, I have a hand in advertising, email marketing, video editing, giveaway management and copywriting at Florida Tech. My favorite thing about the university is the fantastic student body. A self-professed theatre nerd, I spend much of my free time on stage in local community theatre productions, as well as rocking out to my childhood heroes, the Backstreet Boys.

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