Old traditions die hard. But according to two sorority women at the University, it’s time to reexamine some of the campus’s customs.
The LSU Homecoming tradition of pomping, in which pieces of paper are balled up and glued onto large boards to form images, has been getting some serious backlash in the past week, starting with a Stop Pomping at LSU petition.
The petition, started by kinesiology junior Sarah Dawson on Oct. 23, has already gotten more than 1,000 signatures. She and her friend, biology junior Georgia Fischmann—both members of Kappa Kappa Gamma—decided to take action after Homecoming week, when they spent hours helping to prepare their sorority’s board.
While they’ve been thinking about the waste for years, seeing the board in the dumpster was the breaking point for Dawson. Fischmann was also upset by the disposal. Since the boards are only up for one day before getting thrown away, Fischmann didn’t even get to see her sorority’s finished board in time.
“They put them up on game day and it’s very hard to get around on game day, and I didn’t get to have time to see all of them,” Fischmann said. “I just know so many people aren’t seeing them either, and if the whole reason of doing this is so that people can see them, why wouldn’t you just do a painting or something?”
Besides only being seen for one day, pomping leads to a lot of trash, since paper can’t be recycled after it is contaminated with glue. According to Dawson, their board for the 2018 Homecoming cost around $1,800 to make, and took several hours of hard work to build.
Dawson plans to take the petition to the University’s next Panhellenic Council meeting to advocate for the end of pomping. So far, she said the petition has been meet with a lot of support, especially from other Greek Life members.
Members of her sorority have helped share the petition, and Dawson said even the Homecoming Chair agreed with her. According to Dawson, criticism of pomping is even starting to spread to other colleges.
“Everyone hates pomping,” Fischmann said.
The women said pomping could be replaced very easily with more eco-friendly and cost-efficient decorations, like banners or paintings. They want the money saved from ending the pomping tradition to be donated to philanthropy.
But their primary concern is how much waste pomping generates. The two have been trying to advocate for more eco-friendly changes in their sorority, replacing styrofoam containers with tupperware last year, and trying to make people more aware of environmental issues in general.
“It might not be the biggest dent in fixing our environment issues but it all has to start somewhere, and if you can spread that mentality around, other people will catch on,” Dawson said.