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Yell Like Hell's roots extend to university's early days

October 13, 2011 12:00AM

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Yell Like Hell 1975

When students take the field for Yell Like Hell tonight, they will be continuing a campus tradition that goes back nearly 40 years and has its roots in student rallies that are as old as the university itself.

"Yell Like Hell," a pep rally/talent show that features student groups dancing and performing to music on the football field, is one of the most competitive student events of the year, drawing members of the PSU community to the stadium for a night of revelry and entertainment. The free event begins at 7 p.m.

Randy Roberts, university archivist, said "Yell Like Hell" traces back at least 37 years and was created as a continuation of the campus pep rallies that were held for many years. Student skits had stopped being a part of the university's annual spring Apple Day celebrations in the mid-70s after a streaking incident, and the university was trying to find a way to generate more enthusiasm during a time when football teams weren't doing so well.

"It was part of an attempt to re-enliven school spirit," Roberts said. "Now things have become very competitive. You drive around in the evenings for a month before this event, and you see groups practicing. It's a big deal."

Eva Sager, coordinator of campus activities, said the increase in Homecoming participation this year has led to more groups signing up to compete in Yell Like Hell than ever before. The winning performers will receive a plaque and be recognized at GorillaFest on Saturday before the Homecoming game.

Community members who want to leave their mark on Homecoming have a unique opportunity to do so this year. The Homecoming theme "Gorilla Strong" sparked an idea among organizers to have a post card signing event at each activity this week inviting people to write messages to ROTC alumni thanking them for their service. Pittsburg State has nearly 1,000 ROTC alumni who will each receive a postcard when they are mailed out next week.

"We wanted to do something special this year that would be bigger than just the traditional Homecoming events," Sager said. "Students are looking for a way to extend the theme beyond the campus, and to thank our alumni for paving the way for us." 

©2011 Pittsburg State University