Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Workshop brings out float creativity for students

By Courtney Westlake

Who knew that spray paint would disintegrate Styrofoam?

Students got their fair share of tips and advice on constructing and decorating a parade float on Monday, September 17, using materials like Styrofoam, chicken wire, garbage bags, paint and more.

A Build a Parade Float workshop was held in the Student Life office and was the second program of its kind this school year. The Student Life office decided to coordinate these workshops in hopes of inspiring more students and staff to build floats for the October 6 homecoming parade.

“We wanted to make sure our students could get some idea of how to build a float, or even just decorate a car, to make it easier for our student groups to enter things into the parade,” said Beth Hoag, assistant director of Student Life. “It’s fun and just casual to get people interested in the techniques and also to talk about cost-saving methods because that’s usually a concern with our student groups.”

Participants were given booklets with information on materials and pricing and practiced creating floats by stapling chicken wire on a wooden box and using paper mache and pieces of garbage bags, folded to look like flowers, to decorate.

UIS freshman Charles Olivier said he was intrigued by how parade floats are constructed, so he decided to come find out for himself. Since the deadline is looming for float applications, Olivier said he doesn’t think he will be able to pull together a float for this year’s parade, but he is excited to get some friends together to create a float for next year’s homecoming.

“I thought (the workshop) was great; they had a lot of creative ideas that you wouldn’t regularly think of,” he said.

Last year was the first year that UIS held a parade in conjunction with homecoming, and floats ranged from a fire truck to a decorated red wagon, Hoag said. She hopes the numbers of floats will begin to increase with each homecoming celebration.

“We hope to get more each year and have it build, and also get floats from the community as well,” Hoag said.

Applications for parade floats are available in the Student Life office.

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